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The 2020 Lebanon Explosion | Citizen journalism

Citizen Journalism

The 20th century is often referred to as the ‘Information Age‘, With the development in social media platforms, We as a larger society have become more accustomed to receiving our news and media over the internet rather than older conventional media like television and radio. With this major shift in how we receive media and news, it has become a lot more interactive and real-time with the ability to get updates on events as they unfold rather than at a set time the radio or television companies have given to the major media outlets. Media has become more interactive with the ability to add your own information to the story by posting your own tweet, blog, video, etc to these social media platforms like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, which is now referred to as Citizen journalism.

Citizen journalism is “conducted by people who are not professional journalists but who disseminate information using Web sites, blogs, and social media.” (Britannica, 2020) and this type of journalism is a fundamental concept in today’s Information Age. Citizen journalism is seen through two perspectives of which it is pushing journalism further and the second opinion of it being anonymous vigilantism.

the lebanon explosion 2020

On the 4th of August 2020, a major explosion occurred at the port of the capital of Lebanon called Beirut. This explosion caused around $US10 billion and $US15 Billion dollars in damage, leaving 5,000 injured, 180 killed, and a staggering 300,000 people homeless. (ABC NEWS, 2020) The Cause of this catastrophic explosion was caused by over 2,700 tones of ammonium nitrate kept at the pier for around six years, though this was only relieved after the event. On the day of the explosion, thousands of tweets, reports, and videos started pouring onto social media which captivated hundreds of thousands of onlookers across the globe. With the amount of footage and stories coming in people began to create conspiracy theories that spread like wildfire online. According to BBC “A now-deleted tweet suggesting the explosion was “atomic” was shared by a verified Twitter account with over 100,000 followers and racked up thousands of shares and likes.” along with this even President Trump released a statement referring to the explosion as an attack which in turned help fuel spread fuel of misinformation.

Citizen JOURNALISM impact

Citizen Journalism plays a major role in today’s news reporting and is a fundamental component on how traditional media companies gather and create reports. Because of this, it is extremely important that we encourage the general public to report and provide their accounts of events when sensible to do so as it can help build a clear picture of the event. As shown with the Lebanon case study, how much of an impact it can have on the information we receive false or correct, with this an important rule is to not always jump on the bandwagon of a theory which leads to these issues of news being derailed rather the better option can wait for a creditable source like the government to release a statement or compare multiple sources and the accountability of those sources to build a better understanding of the situation.


I hope you enjoyed the blog, if you have any further questions on Citizen journalism feel free to comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

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