>Alternative journalism – Chapter 5 Contemporary Practices of Alternative Journalism (Chris Atton and James F.Hamilton) – A critisizing summary on the article


>STATING MY OPINION against the opinion of the article writers, when they are categorizing as alternative journalists everyone that creates content with the use of different practices, they are wrong. Reading the article, you can find some categories, such as radicals (or just minority writers), yellow press or bloggers, that barely some of them can be categorized as forms of journalism by me. Some people feel that are misrepresented and thus they create their own media, some people are writing about rumors and “social interest” gossiping, or are just writing about a variety of content in blogs and websites. These people may or may not be journalists, but at least in the blogosphere, most of the people are NOT considering themselves as journalists and do not even try to give news but content … When an individual does not even consider his/herself a journalist and does not provide something as news, but as content, how can someone categorize and write about them as a bigger part of the journalistic picture? thus creating a misrepresentation of the journalists. If a blogger is considered a journalist, then why not be considered as a book writer? If a commentator on events, an opinion writer in a radical press/website, an activist, writes about his/hers actions, how is this alternative journalism and not friend or colleague update, or a personal kind of mediated diary? When yellow-press journalists are considered alternative journalists, have anyone thought that the ethics and acceptable , not just journalistic writing is being misrepresented? That is how I will continue criticizing this chapter that I disagree with the point of view of the writers.
AS THE CHAPTER begins, the writers ask about how people learn to be journalists or editors and about their practices. But, as I have already mentioned, they must firstly select the content writers that are “selling” themselves to the public as journalists and not the ones that are commenting or sharing events, else we are all journalists through our own social media, else everyone is a journalist, every person who uses facebook and writes 100 words in their statuses or notes. Continuing, the analysis of the chapter, I will consider that the writers have discern these persons and choose the self-named journalists and news writers or commentators. In the prologues of the chapter, the writers open the discussion with differentiating some of the practices and ways of alternative journalists, closing with the medias used by them, that are mostly local or smaller media, and with noting that the internet has provided the tools for the expansion of the alternative practice.
ALSO A USER generated model of journalism and an emphasis on eye-witnessing from the more professional journalists (as in indymedia)  is consider by them a kind of alternative media. But if the user generated model is considered journalist, then a man working as a waiter (or a girl) goes online and writes a comment on indymedia for two famous businessmen in the restaurant he was working last night, is as much a journalist as the journalist that got an interview with them? If someone passing by an accident and then writes about it, is the same as a journalist that reported the event using sources, and more than his own eyes for eye-witnesses? But also for the professionals using more eye-witness than earlier, that is not just alternative journalism, but a more people-centered journalism, where the elite is not the main event, but the mass is also playing a bigger role in the society than ever, where multi-opinion journalism and not elitist is coming to surface.
THE AMAZON PARADIGM, is when the writers suggest that a review in an amazon product is an alternative method of journalism, when in the same way, a reporter walking the road for a political poll and asks a pedestrian his opinion, then the pedestrian takes the role of the journalist commenting on the event? It is becoming easier to be considered a journalist these days (irony).
ALSO THE FANZINE misunderstanding, is when they writers are examining fanzine writers, such as comic fans or music fans as journalists, when they are just writing about  their hobbies in a kind of online or offline forum and opinion for their misrepresented side of the coin or not mainstream media important event that happens to be important for their subculture. A lady-gaga fun who writes in her blog about her last appearance, because she was on her concert, is not a journalist as a periodical journalist with the cultural column and maybe a more objective view of the event. Even if journalism can be subjective, the kind of fan-writing is cannot be consider journalism, but opinion writing or content writing.
THE MORE HOT topic is blogging. As the writers recognize the “diary form” of bloggers, are also examining the news creators, but the examples given are much less than journalism, as most of them are commentators of event, as much as your neighbor talking with you in a neighborhood meeting and everyone is hearing your conversation, but he is not a journalist because he happens to comment on the event or being part of it and considers writing it. Blogging, as the whole web and its technologies, are just tools to be used and humans are the ones deciding how to use them, as journalists decided to make blogs themselves in a more professional way, fighting back the power that was taken from them and given to the blogs. Blogs are a tool that can also be used for democratic purposes and multiopinions, as a politician writes in a newspaper, but he is not a journalist, but an opinion writer … Now everyone can do it, might not be as popular, or might become even more popular …
ALSO, WHEN THE writers choose to talk about objectivity, I choose to talk about technology. People that can not be journalists, but be part timers or alternative (really alternative subjects, stories and way of seeing things), have their own websites or blogs, as with the new technologies is easier than ever to build and maintain a basic website/blog. Also, these people can have a wide variety of tools to help them be journalists … These technologies vary from personal email, mobile phones with cameras and recording function, as much as small good quality (for web) video cameras, as much as a place to upload them (blogger, youtube, veoh etc), but also a wide variety of paying or free software to build their site (dreamweaver or joomla).
MISREPRESENTED MINORITIES AGAIN, or just different way of viewing things. The real alternative journalists (pg 85-86) who choose not to be objective or are biased, and used media in a different way, usually in smaller medias without the economic power, or advertising that the bigger corporations have on their disposal. These can be extremists, activists (or supporting them), biased, or parts of misrepresented communities. Some of these might not be journalists but people that need to mediate some information and are using the media, or journalists that choose to write about events and subjects that the big corporations that protect their own (or someone else’s ) interests will not accept their articles. Some of the big problems of alternative journalism, is that they don’t have the money centered policies of their bigger corporates counterparts, and don’t have more than their fame to lose if they do not have reliable sources, or are themselves reliable and being subjective without caring about losing part of their audience. Continuing writing about ethics, as much as the alternatives are not money based or in need to follow some ethics, but that has also the downside to them, as a not reliable source will have less “followers/readers” making them worthless as media sources. That is a way that journalism is safe from people that will choose to misuse it.
FINALLY ON CONCLUDING, the writers see alternative journalism as localized and with less access to elite sources, but seeing some examples of alternative journalism and reporting, we can find a variety of bloggers mostly (that can be accessed more easily from a wider range of public) than localized media, which have the power to get close to important sources or find out and comment faster on latest developments, rising to power. A minority example is the http://torrentfreak.com/ as a quite popular site for a minority in technical and ethical terms of the internet. They might not be as strong and popular or widespread as traditional corporations of media and not have their resources, but as more and more of the people are accessing and learning to use the web, bloggers or online journalists that are mostly alternative journalists are having more prestige, that helps them have access to the sources of the traditional media and soon be their bigger news opponents!

PS: The opinions stated in this article are mine and I am not an academic or have read as much as the professional writers that wrote the specific subject, but I had to write a report on the chapter for my journalism course. But due to a big disagreement with the writers, I couldnt resist in criticizing it as much as I could.

(original https://empneusmeno.wordpress.com/2011/03/05/alternative-journalism/ )

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