How has citizen journalism helped our understanding of a particular news event?


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On the 22nd of November 1963, an event captured on film by Abraham Zapruder, a Russian Jewish immigrant, took place which shook the entire world, the assassination of President John F Kennedy.

Abraham Zapruder, a clothing manufacturer who was living in Dallas, Texas at the time, is the perfect example for how citizen journalism has helped our understanding of a particular news event.

There were three copies of Abraham’s footage, a quote to support this is “Officially, the Zapruder film was developed in Dallas on the afternoon of November 22 1963. Zapruder had three extra copies made, two of which were given to the secret service, who, on November 23, 1963, gave one copy to the FBI. The original and third copy were sold to LIFE on November 23,, 1963, for USD 150,000” (2012). As stated in the quote one was given to the secret service, the other to the FBI and the other was sold to LIFE magazine for $150,000. The footage has been seen by millions of people from around the world, although if asked it is highly unlikely anyone would know where the footage had come from.

There are even news articles about how he almost didn’t take his camera with him that day, it’s really difficult to imagine how difficult it may have been on the investigation without that film. His 26 seconds of film became vital to the investigation, as stated in an article by the Daily Mail, Zapruder’s film had allowed investigators to establish intervals between gun shots.

It is arguable that if it hadn’t been for the film, the investigation wouldn’t have progressed as it did and they may never have arrested the killer, Lee Harvey Oswald.

In another article on the Daily Mail that supports the rise of citizen journalism, Chris Shaw, ITN Productions editorial director, explains how citizen journalism may be beneficial in gathering news and footage in places like Syria, as those are places where it can be difficult for journalists to tread.

The truth is, we are surrounded by citizen journalism, and it is thanks to the great wide web and the advancement of technology that we have access to it. Journalism is evolving in a way that everyone can contribute and provide information to the public that may not otherwise be presented in major tabloids.