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Alternative and Citizen Journalism

Atton, Chris


Chris Atton


Karin Wahl-Jorgensen

Thomas Hanitzsch


This chapter examines journalism that is produced not by professionals but by those outside mainstream media organizations. Amateur media producers typically have little or no training or professional qualifications as journalists; they write and report from their position as citizens, as members of communities, as activists, as fans. This chapter will show how key writers in the subject area have understood the activities of these amateur journalists. The chapter places these activities in three categories: social movement media and citizens’ media; local alternative journalism; fanzines and blogs. It examines the major studies to show how different theoretical and ideological perspectives have influenced the nature of those studies. Examples will be drawn from the key texts in the area including Atton (2002a), Downing, Ford, Gil and Stein (2001) and Rodriguez (2001).

The merits and limits of these and other studies will be examined. Methodological gaps will also be identified, such as the almost complete absence of research into audiences and the absence of any detailed, international comparative studies. Finally, proposals for future research will be made, in particular for studies that deal with alternative and citizen journalism as work and that examine how alternative and mainstream cultures of news production might be understood in complementary ways, rather than solely in opposition to one another.

Publication Date 2009
Deposit Date Feb 17, 2009
Publicly Available Date Dec 31, 2009
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 265-278
Book Title The Handbook of Journalism Studies
ISBN 0-8058-6343-5
Keywords Amateur journalists; Alternative media; Journalistic viewpoints; Social activism; Alternative local views; Fans and enthusiasts; Audiences; Employment;
Public URL
Contract Date Feb 17, 2009