We Are all Papparazzi: The Growing Trend Towards Citizen Journalism

THE GROWING TREND TOWARDS CITIZEN JOURNALISM (WHERE WE ARE ALL PAPPARAZZI TO SOME EXTENT) – WITH SOCIAL MEDIA, YOUTUBE AND ALL THE MODERN TECHNOLOGY EVERYTHING HAPPENS FAST THESE DAYS – AND WE JUST SAW IT AS THREE MURDERS TRANSPIRED THIS WEEK IN PUEBLO COUNTY – when events happen in Pueblo we are seeing how fast amateur “citizen journalists” catch everything through video, photographs and writings about what is going on. We have those on fb pages who listen to scanners day and night and post live as events are taking place what is said by police. We have families who share about incidents during investigations on facebook pages, and friends who create gofundme pages before names are even officially released in the mainstream media which is a dinosaur in comparison. Mainstream media outlets are often gong direct to facebook too, long before posting on websites or going to air/print.

 
The widespread available of high speed internet and digital cameras and cell phones has made all of this possible. We the citizens have all become papparazzi to some extent.
 
But we have to be careful too.
 
There are real human lives involved as tragic events in a community this small unfold and while most of what we are doing here is for the good (as far as my fb page goes which about 5,000 have come to know) and some has negative hurtful consequences. This week our community experienced how quickly we can word spread about who was involved and what the circumstances may have been in cases that were horrific, one of a mother/daughter found dead in their home on Monday in Pueblo West that the Sheriff’s Department later in the week declared a murder/suicide but locals are still questioning the conclusions. Another of a young man who died mid week after beaten by a baseball bat, where we were able to share the news of his death and ask the community for leads in a viral way immediately through social media and some leads came in as a result, direct to me. Then we had the accident in the middle of the night on Friday and found out a young man had been run over by a woman, whom was arrested yesterday, and we exercised caution as police worked and finally arrested the young woman believed to have run him over.
 
Typically families are expressing gratitude that we are getting the cases out there and fast as they want answers and fast too. Many in Pueblo sadly don’t trust law enforcement completely and worry that their cases may become like the high profile missing persons cases we’ve had such as Kelsie Schelling that have made national news. But cases can take time for police to gather evidence and talk to witnesses and analyze it all. Families seem to understand when events go down that the public is going to ask a lot of questions and talk a lot but it’s still very shocking for them (as murders and such always happen to someone else) and we know this and thus social media especially is a double edged sword, sometimes it’s in hindsight that we realize the impact – but mostly – and everyone following this page of mine which was developed so we could “banter” are following common courtesy – trying to help use social media to those involved grieve, and our community find closure, when the news hits.
 
It’s often times on social media that we learn who’s involved and people start sending out word and condolences long before before the mainstream media even reports it – and leads sometimes come in very fast, shared with the police. Here we can express feelings and emotions and sorrow, that can’t be expressed in the mainstream media. We can also share the good times too in our community, and rejoice together when suspects are found and tried when we have cases that fester on for too long especially after murders. We are able to quickly get families and friends help and counseling and resources so they aren’t left a lone in hard times, whereas before they never knew where to turn.
 
Social media, phone cameras and internet video may threaten broadcasters who think TV viewers will move away from them (and on to the web), but the there needs to be a diverse, collective arena that should add perspective to what mainstream media is doing. And current affairs is clearly benefiting from citizen journalism and video testimony from ordinary citizens. No matter, whether it is good or bad citizen journalism is the way of the future because it shares information between people and removes the propaganda that can sometimes come with any government or news agency. Because traditional journalists even here locally, have to deal daily with the government, right from the start the information is controlled by the politicians and the people who may not get the full story.
 
As citizens we can quickly share what we know. People should be able to express themselves and we are providing an opportunity for the citizens to come together and express their opinions here and on our expanding Southern Colorado Independent website, places where we can meet and share ideas and learn about the issues effecting our city and the world around us. The free flow of information and opinions is what makes society function.
 
We are doing good Fifth Estate of Pueblo and we are gathering steam and power.
 
But we have to remember as we share and try to help and not hinder, as we are doing here on my fb page, that those involved are often reading what we are saying. We are going to work on more formal citizen journalism now, slowing down as much as we can as events happen so fast – to make sure we are lways trying to use “citizen journalism” for the good of our community but already for the most part we are doing good. Ok my fellow citizen journalists? I’m not sure I explained exactly what I wanted but this was a hard week for us all – those involved and our community – but at least even if there were a few slips we can all agree we did our best. JP

Southern Colorado Independent Magazine publisher Jenny Paulson is a 20 year veteran niche magazine publisher, an independent journalist, photographer, publisher, blogger, activist, world traveler and a proud mom. She has worked as a political activist, for a lobbyist, a pr firm, the governor and for a representative in Washington DC. She has lived in her home of Pueblo, CO ten years.

About Jenny Paulson 83 Articles
Southern Colorado Independent Magazine publisher Jenny Paulson is a 20 year veteran niche magazine publisher, an independent journalist, photographer, publisher, blogger, activist, world traveler and a proud mom. She has worked as a political activist, for a lobbyist, a pr firm, the governor and for a representative in Washington DC. She has lived in her home of Pueblo, CO ten years.
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