The term citizen media refers to forms of content produced by private citizens who are otherwise not professional journalists. Citizen journalism, participatory media and democratic media are related principles.
Citizen media is a term coined by Clemencia Rodriguez, who defined this concept as ‘the transformative processes they bring about within participants and their communities. Citizen media refers to the ways in which audiences can also become participants in the media using the different resources offered. In the modern age, new technologies have brought about different media technologies which became the ground for citizen participation.
There are many forms of citizen-produced media including blogs, vlogs, podcasts, digital storytelling, community radio, participatory video and more, and may be distributed via television, radio, internet, email, movie theater, DVD and many other forms. Many organizations and institutions exist to facilitate the production of media by private citizens including, but not limited to, Public, educational, and government access (PEG) cable tv channels, Independent Media Centers and community technology centers.
Citizen media has bloomed with the advent of technological tools and systems that facilitate production and distribution of media. Of these technologies, none has advanced citizen media more than the Internet. With the birth of the Internet and into the 1990s, citizen media has responded to traditional mass media’s neglect of public interest and partisan portrayal of news and world events. Media produced by private citizens may be as factual, satirical, neutral or biased as any other form of media but has no political, social or corporate affiliation.
By 2007, the success of small, independent, private journalists began to rival corporate mass media in terms of audience and distribution. Citizen produced media has earned higher status and public credibility since the 2004 US Presidential elections and has since been widely replicated by corporate marketing and political campaigning. Traditional news outlets and commercial media giants have experienced declines in profit and revenue which can be directly attributed to the wider acceptance of citizen produced media as an official source of information.