A special issue of the journal Digital Journalism has been published as online-first issue. The issue, titled Photojournalism and Citizen Journalism: Co-operation, Collaboration and Connectivity has been divided into two sections: the other part will be published in the journal Journalism Practise. X of articles published in this part of the issue are about Europe or by European scholars. Both issues delve into the less examined overlapping areas of citizens and amateurs and photojournalism.
Valérie Gorin of University of Geneva examines citizen photojournalism in Time magazine’s photoblog Lightbox. In the paper, Gorin explores the ways that citizen imagery is challenging the photojournalistic culture. Lightbox is managed by professional photographers but features sometimes amateur photography. Gorin analyzes how the editors select very limited amount of citizen photography and avoid mentioning the amateur nature of images. The paper also shows how digital platforms often emphasize the photographer’s personal initiatives over traditional gatekeeping process.
Eddy Borges-Rey of University of Stirling looks at the popular photo-sharing service Instagram through the loop of Baudrillard’s hyperreality theory. He examines the photo feeds of six citizen photojournalists and six professinal photojournalists. Borges-Rey identifies the various simulations and discourses used in these photo feeds. He claims that the Instagram community inadvertently creates a hyperreal depiction of the world. Instagram photojournalists use specific aestetic conventions and performative discourses that correspond to their roles as either amateurs or professionals.
In their article, Aurélie Auberta of University of Paris 8 & Jérémie Nicey of University of Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3 focus in a news photo agency Citizenside. Auberta and Nicey studied the viewpoints of contributors to explore the concept of a “citizen photojournalist”. They conclude that the “amateur” photojournalists are, in fact, driven by semiprofessional logics.
Jelle Mast and Samuel Hanegreefsb of Vrije Universiteit Brussel use the Syrian war and its media blackout to study issues of transparency and graphicness. They look at how mainstream news media incorporate citizen-generated images, how sources are referenced and how topics and explicitness of pictures vary between professionals and citizen journalists.
Stuart Allan of Cardiff University and Chris Peters of University of Groningen contribute to the debate of professional/amateur photographers in journalism. They studied specifically millennial (born 1980-1999) users in a qualitative study, and found out that photojournalism’s discursive authority can be open to challenge. The millennials raised questions over realness, authenticity and truthiness, all of which complicated – and even destabilisized – the professional/amateur binary.
Journalists try to either distance themselves or to find validation of amateur images, write Mervi Pantti and Stefanie Sirén of University of Helsinki. Pantti and Sirén explored the attitudes of Finnish journalists towards the use of non-professional images.
The rise of new digital technologies and citizen photography have challenged and destabilized traditional photojournalism, argues Marco Solaroli of University of Bologna in his paper. Solaroli focuses on the practise of digital post-producation through which he discusses wider technological, professional and cultural shifts in news photography over the last decade. He discusses the shifting professional ideal of visual news objectivity and the shifting of symbolic boundaries between professionals/non-professionals.
The journal issue can be accessed here (abstracts public). Read about the companion issue in Journalism Practise here.