Citizen journalism and the emergence of collective intelligence network

The rise of the Internet has redefined the phenomena of journalism, with the advent of citizen journalism in the digital age. Axel Bruns stated, “citizen journalism provides news as a process: a continuing and necessarily unfinished coverage of topics and events inviting user participation, aiming to achieve what can be described as deliberative journalism” (cited in Mitew 2017). To explain briefly, citizen journalists are public citizens who play an active role in the process of producing content by means of the Internet.

There are many discussion websites and forums on the Internet where members can submit content and one of them is 4chan. 4chan is an imageboard website where users can post comments and share images anonymously. Besides its function as a public sphere for users to discuss content, 4chan also acts as a collective intelligence network. While it can initially appear as a hostile environment, 4chan is nothing more than brutally honest feedback (Simkin 2017), which reminds me back to the day 4chan called in an airstrike on ISIS. A group from a sub-forum /sg/ (Syria General) on 4chan have done an amazing job, when they managed to identify the location of an ISIS camp based on a video on Youtube and passed them onto the Russian government.

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While it is not possible to confirm whethere Russian government make use of this information or not, 4chan proves itself to be the collective intelligence of the Web, where large groups of people around the world collaborate and yield surprising outcomes, like the case of /sg/.

Featured Image Source


Bruns, A 2009, ‘News Blogs and Citizen Journalism: New Directions for e-Journalism’, viewed 16 September 2017, <>.

Mitew, T 2017, ‘Bridges made of pebbles: Social media and the transformation of journalism’, Prezi slides, 21 July, Wollongong University, viewed 16 September 2017, <>.

Simkin, D 2017, ‘/SG/’, Prezi slides, 5 September, Wollongong University, viewed 15 September 2017, <>.



  1. Good post!! Something I find interesting about this topic is the way citizen journalism has effected the concept of truth. Journalism in it’s historical sense has always had a code of conduct about the necessity to uphold and deliver truth – though not always applied, it shows that the industry and it’s participants value truth. With the advent of citizen journalism, and Trump’s crusade against ‘fake news,’ truth again is changing in meaning. The anonymity of sites like 4Chan enables a sense of no repercussions, so it’s hard to uphold and encourage the concept of truth simply because it’s the right thing to do. Although it encourages individuals to evaluate and make appropriate judgment of content found online – not everyone participates in this cynicism; which inevitably spreads misinformation. What do you think?


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