CNN's iReport of Steve Jobs having a heart attack on Friday was a false report. That false iReport, though, painted a black mark on citizen journalist report cards.
While false stories and facts that don't always add up are throughout mainstream news, it seems Citizen Journalists are under a tougher microscope.
Tech Crunch quotes the original CNN iReport by SIA:
Steve Jobs was rushed to the ER just a few hours ago after suffering a major heart attack. I have an insider who tells me that paramedics were called after Steve claimed to be suffering from severe chest pains and shortness of breath. My source has opted to remain anonymous, but he is quite reliable. I haven’t seen anything about this anywhere else yet, and as of right now, I have no further information, so I thought this would be a good place to start. If anyone else has more information, please share it.
The false report had a negative effect on Wall Street with the market taking a dive.
This false story though brings up an important point, without that shiny diploma citizen journalists are judged harsher and a bad apple undermines all.
For the citizen journalist, unfounded stories or absolute false claims can not be tolerated. Professional journalists at times falter into a story built on a pack of lies but they have the backing of their papers and editors.
Let's be honest -- the pros can screw up and the lot will not be judged. Citizen journalism being in the baby steps will be judged over and over. The fact that more people than ever rely on news from CJ sites shows that mainstream journalists have a reason to "fear" the less paid writers. Every story will then be searched for errors to discredit the CJ. Each false story makes it harder for a CJ to be trusted. The public sees the bad apple in the print more often than the citizen that breaks a story. Until Citizen Journalism is commonplace the actions of each value the actions of all.
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