A timely reality check; read the full post
We need, however, to get one thing clear: No matter how their sponsors spin it, iReport and its ilk are not citizen journalism. They are not journalism of any sort. They are unfiltered bulletin boards of rumor, gossip, speculation and unverified accounts, and they have a base-level credibility rating of zero. The practice of journalism has well established principles involving accuracy, thoroughness, fairness and accountability, and well established practices involving vetting stories through layers of trained skeptics. When journalists fail to meet these standards, the price is paid in credibility. A site like iReport, with its open invitation to “tell the stories we’re not used to seeing,” is an outlet for citizen participation, not a venue for citizen journalism, despite the CNN logo. All it takes to be a “reporter” is an anonymous log-in. We may never know if “johntw” was simply a misinformed naif with a hair-trigger for rumor, a greedy trader making a crude attempt to move the market, or a bored griefer getting his jollies by watching everyone scuttle about like startled cockroaches. Unless there’s something the SEC decides to look into, he pays no price because, unlike a journalist, he has no concerns about credibility.