Citizen journalism (also known as "public", "participatory", "democratic" or "street journalism") is the concept of members of the public "playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information." Wikipedia
On Wednesday, CNN frequently showed amateur videos, with a graphic that labeled them "unverified material." It showed a YouTube video of the aftermath of an apparent raid at Tehran University. The video showed rooms that appeared to have been burned extensively. New York Times
Citizen Journalism took on a very clear role this week as the Iranian government continued to deport journalists admitted with temporary visas (to cover the Iranian elections). As western journalists were told reporting on the demonstrations and protests against perceived election fraud was illegal ("We warn those who propagate riots and spread rumors that our legal action against them will cost them dearly," a statement from the military force said), the burden of reporting fell on the shoulders of Iranian citizens participating in the demonstrations.
"If you put out a product, and nobody wants to pay for it, you don't have a product." David Simon
A debate is heating up on the topic of unpaid, or "Citizen Journalists." This issue is whether or not citizen journalists are qualified to represent news to the public, and if the news they distribute has any inherent value.
Traditional newspapers such as the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Christian Science Monitor have gone to online-only editions. Most existing print newspapers also have online editions, and those online editions are gradually opening up to include blogs, including non-paid blogs opened to citizen journalists with little or no experience and formal training in journalism.