Their stories raise important questions for journalists and audiences, and for anyone considering speaking to a reporter.
By giving first-hand accounts of what happened on the ground—or on the casting couch—before reporters arrived at the scene, citizen sources perform an important public service.
But behind every citizen we see in the news is another story—about their interaction with journalists and the repercussions of their decision to go public—that audiences rarely know much about. A sexual abuse survivor writes of losing every shred of privacy after deciding to go public.
I spoke to victims, heroes, witnesses, criminals, voters, experts, and more.
All were private citizens rather than politicians, celebrities, PR professionals, or professional journalists.
The paper specifically put parts of the sentence in capitals so that someone who was just scanning the paper would get two lines, 1: CRISIS AT HAND and 2: SPANISH TREACHERY.
This strategy had a large part in causing the Spanish-American war because of the affect that it had on the public.When The World (which was a newspaper at the time) came out with the article the caption read that the Maine explosion was not an accident it was actually the work of the Spanish.We now know that it was a problem with the ship itself however the newspaper still put this in there article with no real evidence to back their claim which a large part of what yellow journalism is.(Wikipedia for the photo) (The Spanish American War)The Spanish-American war was mainly caused by the general public clamoring to go to war with Spain.However it was Yellow journalism that affected the opinions of the American people.My interviewees mostly thought of journalists not primarily as citizens´ defenders against powerful people and institutions, but as powerful people and institutions in their own right.Journalists seem powerful to ordinary citizens for several interrelated reasons.The general public had no idea that what they were reading was untrue so they grew angry and started clamoring to go to war with Spain.An example of the newspapers using this tactic was when the New York Journal posted a paper which headlines read: CRISIS AT HAND cabinet in session, growing belief in SPANISH TREACHERY.By having large captions that weren’t always truthful they were able to capture the public eye and then changed the public’s view of Spain with picture and captions similar to propaganda against Spain. Without the hurricane survivors, student protestors, mass shooting victims, and sexual abuse survivors who agreed to speak to reporters, our understanding of some of the most important issues of the day would be murky at best.