I had thought citizen journalism would be out-of-the-box writing.
Having spent more than 35 years with AP and others, including overseas, I had fought and fought against gate-keepers.
God forbid anything should be original. Put the original material at the bottom so when the news got to its outlets editors there would remove it.
Time after time we were told to include context in stories. When we did it was removed. One editor wrote me up for reporting that the Germany Army had used mustard gas in World War I.
At the same time we were pushed to Murdock journalism. Get quotes from victims of terrible tragedies.
The impact it has on writers is similar to what happens to firefighters or police.
I once asked why I was so often the asked to do it, Columbine for example. Because you are so good at it, I was told.
So when doing so much of this resulted in early retirement due to PTSD and other issues, I was surprised that my psychologist and psychiatrist (both ex-Army lieutenant colonels) urged me to keep writing.
There were plenty of people who wanted me to write. I went in several directions and ultimately was invited to write for Allvoices. It was an organization that claimed was founded to make it possible for people in the Third World and elsewhere to get to tell their story.
I enjoyed it at first because I could put my spin on stories about Afghanistan, Libya and science, art, and history.
After a time it became clear to me that I was merely creating a diversion for their pornography and plagiarism. They couldn’t even get the plagiarism right.
Instead of bringing us stories from their homes that the mainstream media never covered they focused on Charlie Sheen and the likes. Often their writing was incoherent.
There were no editors.
Pornography frequently was the best seller.
There are Websites that include writing from citizen journalists, but the biggest ones carried old, badly written, disgusting and hoax stories.
Make up your own mind. Google Allvoices and Amra Tareen. Read of the plans they made that never came true.