Following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai last month, there has been an ongoing discussion about the role citizens play in relating current events. The four day standoff lead to an eruption of news coverage, many of it driven by bloggers, tweeters and related amateur news coverage. CNN, BBC and the New York Times all set up live coverage of the events and the government even asked live reporters to stop relaying police activities online. This internet driven information frenzy highlights the power of not just citizen journalism, but live witness journalism. Jeff Jarvis of the Guardian reports that,
The witnesses are taking over the news. That will fundamentally change our experience of news, the role of witnesses and participants, the role of journalists and news organisations, and the impact reporting has on events…These are all journalistic functions – reporting, gathering, organising, verifying – that anyone can now take on. Traditional news organisations will still perform these tasks, but in new ways…The next news story will be seen live and at eye level…urgent, live, direct, emotional, personal.
Should citizens be encouraged to report what they see or do they hinder the role that established journalists play in reporting our news?