Alok Verma

The emerging new media world is inundated with multitudes of information. To deal with the humongous flow of information the new-age journalist will require to be adept at filtering information rather than just throwing spotlight on it. But the very idea of the journalist as curator — one who sources, vets and contextualizes information other people report — has been hard for many reporters, newsrooms and journalism schools to accept and adapt to.

The journalist curator at a desk monitoring Twitter and watching YouTube videos stands in stark contrast to the romanticized notion of journalist as fearless truth teller, venturing into the field to get the story and get it firsthand. Yet many of the biggest stories of today are being reported by citizens on the ground coupled with journalists who find meaning in the trove — or deluge — of information.

Many newsrooms are trying to leverage the storytelling potential of their users and working with citizen reporters and their footage in meaningful ways. One of the news broadcasters CNN-IBN in India has been effectively explioting the the citizen reporter to its advantage editorially.

There is a huge potential where User Generated Content can be used by news organizations daily and can produce stories that otherwise would not, or could not, be narrated. In fact, there could be created an echosystem where reporters do not use citizen content only as a last resort rather  they work with citizens as collaborators in sourcing, investigating and reporting stories. They curate citizen content by finding, verifying and presenting reports from the communities they cover and help their audience understand the larger story that they contribute to.

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