Difference between Traditional Journalism, Citizen Journalism and Citizen Media

Traditional Journalism Citizen Journalism
Traditional journalistic practices focus on maintaining objectivity, checking up on governmental officials, and neutrally providing information to audiences. These characteristics have defined the dominant way of writing and reporting the news for several decades.


It is known as “Public” “Participatory” “democratic” or street journalist, playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information.

A citizen Journalist is a freelance journalist who frequently writes on new media issues.

Citizen journalists are “the people formerly known as the audience” (Jay Rosen, New York University Journalism Professor)


Traditional journalist is a professional who has undergone training in journalism that acquired basic knowledge in journalism, in other words he is professionally trained to carry out specific duties. Citizen journalist is a person without professional journalism training.

A citizen journalist does not acquired any knowledge as regard journalism profession.

Traditional journalistic media include: print, television, radio, and even the Internet. Citizen journalist uses the tools of modern technology and the global distribution of the internet (that provides low-cost distribution) to create augment or fact-check media on their own ways.

Blogs, camera phones, tags, pages on social networks, etc., have become part of the citizen media movement.


Traditional journalism aims to inform and educate, hold people and authority to account, document and interpret development and changes.

Traditional journalist focuses on maintaining objectivity, checking up on governmental officials, and neutrally providing information to audiences.

Citizen journalism on one hand it informs the society on the other hand it gives them the opportunity to tell and report their stories.
Traditional journalism is the outside looking in.


Citizen journalism is the inside looking out.
Traditional journalists are journalist recognized by law to work in media houses.

Traditional journalist knows the pros and cons of journalism profession.


Citizen journalists are not recognized by law.


Citizen journalists are not privilege to know the pros and cons of journalism profession.

In traditional journalism, there are concerns about media ethics and legal issues.


Only professionally-trained journalists can understand the ethics required of news editors and reporters.

In citizen journalism, there is a lack of training and orientation toward the standards, ethics, norms, and practices of professional journalism.

Citizen journalists don’t uphold the traditional journalistic value of objectivity when working on a specific subject.

Discussing citizen journalism also is a discussion about ethics. Readers should rate the stories and the writers themselves to give them an incentive and motivate them to do their best.


Trained or not, when disseminating news or any sort, one should always abide by personal ethics, even if not the professional ethics. One should always ask self that my action will not cause harm to any individual, intentionally or unintentionally.

Traditional journalism is facing a very tough time at the moment due to social media being used as a means of broadcasting news updates. Newspapers are slowly becoming less important to buy as the internet has it all, Facebook, Twitter and blogs.

Traditional journalism, however, is still a form of strong reporting.

In fact, citizen journalism has developed with the spread of the Internet and its tools such as blogging, social networks, Facebook, Twitter, and Skype. Nowadays the Internet is used by citizen not only to receive the information, but also increasingly as a way to transmit information.
Citizen journalism is a specific form of citizen media as well as user generated content.

However, the most important gem here is that, at some point “traditional” journalists will become extinct and will evolve. Therefore, in some respects, every journalist may very well become a blogger.

Social media is a powerful medium and we cannot control it.

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