Traditionally news has always been reported by newspapers and other media outlets such as television and radio. Also traditionally you had to be a journalist working for one of these media outlets or you would never have a hope of getting any access to news events and happenings. This has dramatically changed with the advent of the Latin American citizen journalist. This concept has spread like wildfire in the Spanish speaking world. Since Spanish is the worlds second most popular language ,and third most commonly communicated language on the internet, it is no wonder that Latin American citizen journalism has taken off in such a big way.
We can thank the phenomenon of the citizen journalist to the growth of the internet and devices such as cellphones, digital recorders, and laptops. Now anyone with access to any of these devices can report at the scene of a crime, or a rescue, or any number of newsworthy events. Citizen journalists can also bring a dimension of humanity to their communities. They are not reporting in the clinical way that trained journalists do. Trained journalists might report from a war zone, but they tend to be detached because they do not actually live there. When a citizen, on the other hand, reports from a disaster zone, he or she brings a completely different quality to the story.
Because of the technology available to just about anyone nowadays, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the bad guys, be they criminals or governments in some instances, to get away with schemes that they could have in the past. A cellphone in hand will make anyone an instant witness to any wrongdoing, and before long it will be spread all over the internet. There is just no getting away with things anymore. It will eventually be found out. It will be reported on Twitter or Facebook. The pictures will be shared on Flickr. And this is thanks to the many citizens, including the Latin American citizen journalist, who will not stand idly by when they see a wrong being committed.
This is happening in increased numbers in Latin America and the Spanish speaking world especially. Latin America has a long history of countries with very unstable regimes that have traditionally suppressed any news that they did not want spread. Many brave journalists have been killed for threatening to blow the whistle on some of these regimes. There are many dedicated Latin American citizens who have taken the matter into their own hands. They have decided to take back their countries and fight the corruption that is going on.
Of course, not all citizen journalism is about routing out bad regimes and getting rid of dictators. There are many citizen journalists reporting on day to day occurrences in their communities that involve not a hint of crime or wrong doing. Being a Latin American citizen journalist involves telling the stories of the time. The stories that matter to people and their communities. It is a global way of communicating and sharing your world with those around you. Everyone wants to feel that they are part of something and contributing in some way. This way of communicating allows many people to take part and show how they care for their community.
Many events that are first brought to the attention of the public by these citizen journalists, often quickly spread like a virus around the world. Some of the newsworthy stories are not intentionally made public by those who take the footage or photos. Other individuals who feel the world should know about these events, oftentimes appropriate this technological evidence, and blow the whistle. Latin America has many citizen journalists who are ever vigilant and on the lookout for stories they can share. There also are many citizen newspapers in various regions in Latin America. The stories reported in these papers are the ones that are not generally covered by the main media.
A Latin American citizen journalist bridges an important gap between the individuals who perpetrate the events that are so newsworthy, and the media that is forever cold, cynical and detached. These professional media journalists do not have to live the lives that are affected by the natural disasters or wars, that touch the people in the region. These journalists can go back home to their warm beds until the next story comes along. The citizen journalists are right on the scene living the lives of everyone there and bringing humanity back to the news.