Are citizen journalism apps ready for prime time?

Are citizen journalism apps ready for prime time?

Nicole Martinelli | May 27, 2011

With the Arab Spring turning everyday citizens with cell phones into reporters and witnesses of tumultuous events, the time for the citizen journalism app has come.

There are currently dozens of apps available for people to submit news tips; some simply offer a way for people to send in local story ideas, others target specific networks and users can send pics and video directly to newsrooms.

Most are free -- which seems to speak to how badly news organizations want no-cost, on-the-ground global coverage.

Here is the best of what's currently available.

1. Meporter
Launched to much fanfare at a recent TechCrunch Disrupt conference, this is currently the only app not affiliated with just one news network. And, perhaps more importantly for freelancers, the company may also pay users who create content by licensing it to news orgs for them. Until CNN comes knocking, you can also upload your own reports and broadcast them from the app.

2. CNN
The latest version of the iPhone app lets citizen journalists view, record and submit video and photo reports to the U.S. news network's citizen journalism program iReport.

3. AP Mobile
In addition to viewing the Associated Press content from around the globe, you can zap photos and tips directly to newsroom editors with the "Send to AP" button. They assure that user info is solely used to verify the tip or to gather more information.

4. Al Jazeera
Unsurprisingly, the latest version of the Doha-based news network app includes a citizen journalism feature, though somewhat disappointingly users must send material through the default email app after clicking on the "Your Media" button.

5. Groundviews
From the award-winning citizen journalism site of the same name in Sri Lanka, this app targets users in Southeast Asia. You can submit photos and short reports directly from the app as well as see what your neighbors are uploading.

Have you ever used apps to submit news?




Twitter and facebook will continue to be the predominate players for any form of "citizen" news dissemination. if we are suggesting useful mobile applications in the context of the Arab spring, then someone should already be in the process of making an 'application which facilitates the organisation and coverage of mass protests'. in order for any such app to have a lasting effect, it would have to simultaneously disseminate through twitter/facebook/bamuser/livestream, however with the advantage of its own specially modified database...

mobile apps

These are great examples because of its features which really engage the users themselves. In other words, these apps illustrate what author Amy Gahran tells in her article entitled, "Mobile apps for news: Do something". Read more about her insights at


Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Twitter message links are opened in new windows and rel="nofollow" is added.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Please log in or register in order to comment this post.