Journalists have the duty to tell the public what is going on in the world. This, however, is getting more and more difficult as we breach into an era where people can actually post news on their smartphones without any journalist training. This is called crowdsourcing where everyday people are encouraged to submit other sides of a story to aid in the spreading of news.
I think this is great as the point of journalism is to carry out a conversation with the public. With crowdsourcing and the extra involvement in the media, new is being passed around much quicker and more people are getting informed. Audiences are now being able to contribute to these conversations more freely, and they start to develop an overall sense of a voice in such a large world. In a way, this makes our world smaller and open to more audience participation.
The only issue I see with this extra involvement is that a lot of these citizen journalists are not trained by professionals. Thus, the issue of accuracy and even bias arises. Accuracy is extremely important when reporting to large groups of people. Even the slightest misspelling of names or dates can make huge impacts. In addition, satires and parody sites are becoming more popular these days and are not necessarily making it obvious that they are reporting false news. Often, this leads to misguided audiences which are confused with what is true and what is simply false. If this misleading information continues, the audiences will begin to lose trust in the media and it will reflect on all journalists as a whole and not simply the unqualified citizen journalists.
The issue of bias also arises. Bias is even difficult for the experienced journalists. Everyone has an opinion on an issue and that can often be projected through an article that should be objective in that it manifests both sides of a story. The point of reporting news is not to tell everyone what you think about the story, but instead what facts are given and what conclusions can be made based on a set of data.
Journalism is thus a difficult field to be in due to the presence of the highly opinionated public. The industry is changing daily, but standards of professionalism, accuracy, and fairness should not be exempt in this new era.