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Citizen Journalism: Real Freedom of Speech

By Christina Stein
Opinion | July 10, 2011

man-reading-newspaper.jpgGREAT BEND, Kan. - Citizen journalism is as American as the First Amendment. It's the truest 'freedom of speech' since it is not sponsored by corporate donors.

Most commercial news sources today are beholden to their advertisers, be they local or corporate. It is tough to fight corruption when corruption is your main source of income. News channel's or newspapers are not the only way to get news nowadays.

Too often, also, commercial newspapers and other corporate sponsored news sources focus on federal level politics. Local politics are pushed aside. Writers on this and similar sites are providing valuable services as they provide articles that are usually of interest to the Kansas public. Kansas Free Press is a fantastic way for citizens to publish information that otherwise would be shelved by commercial media.

coffee-cup-wraparound-backside.jpgNews was once held captive by the hands of a few; those that owned their soapbox. News was received by either television or print.

Now there are thousands of ways to receive your news.

Of course, online news does have its downfalls. If the editor or online writer isn't careful, articles may be printed without fact or statistic. Incorrect information can be published, a difficult and important job for the editor to weed out. At KFP, our writers designate their articles as "opinion" (like this article) or as "news." In so doing, they assist the readers in differentiating between statements of fact and other kinds of assertions.

Even when publishing opinion pieces, many on this site do a great job of citing their sources and offering reports on where more information can be collected on a topic.

At KFP, "Though many of us are new to journalism, we seek to practice, as best we can, the journalistic standards of truth, fairness, and transparency."

Citizen journalism is the wave of the future, with 'Average Joe's' researching and reporting information. The power of print is now given to all American's, control of information for the few, is broken.

Never before in American history, have everyday American's had such a large, collective voice. I am proud to take advantage of that.

Sure it is easy to flip on Fox News, MSNBC, or HLN, but they are there to make a profit. Citizen journalist's are not.

Average Joe's have nothing to lose. The best part is that our writers are beholden to no one.

What better way to celebrate our Constitution than researching local, state, and federal issues for yourself and reporting to the general public?

"I offer nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments, and common sense ..." Thomas Paine, 1776, pamphleteer


2 Comments

Are you aware of the new law up in Iowa that would ban journalists from doing undercover stories about abuses on Iowa farms? Many underground exposes have showed up showing abuse at Iowa pork and poultry factory farms. The state government now wants to make it a major crime to do those videos.

I hope such a law doesnt happen in Kansas.


Brad, I agree with you, I hope Ks. never outlaws expose articles on any organization or enterprise. What we need to be diligent at is preventing false slander.

In the case of agriculture, few people know anything about commercial animal production, or plant production either. My wife was raised to about age 10 on the farm, but she didn't really understand nature and animals. When we moved out here to Western KS (the family farm) and I started handling cattle she had a few things to learn. She was very upset that I would allow a calf to be born without being present to supervise the event. She worried if it was raining during calving season. She worried about those little calves in cold weather. Calves are fine if the mother cow gets up and licks them off and is a good brood cow. If she doesn't, she's on her way to the slaughter house before next calving season. Of course, when the temps drop to sub zero or it is cold and wet, we have to give a little more attention to the new borns. But, generally, here in NW KS calves are fine out in the open range at calving time. What many people don't understand is, we are well aware of the natural needs of our animals and our survival as producers is dependent upon our being able to meet the basic needs of our animals and crops.

Without question, we have a few commercial producers who don't treat their animals right. But, the percentage of commercial producers that are negligent is nowhere near the percentage of pet owners, even the animal rights people, who don't know what the animal's natural habitat or normal needs are.

A couple years or so ago, we had some exchange in the EverydayCitizen blog about happy chickens. I'll guarantee you, the hen that is caged and in a controlled environment is apt to be a whole lot more comfortable and happy more of the time than those hens who are out in the open. (rain, hail, wind, heat, cold) They were worried about the taste of their eggs and the nutritional value. If the feed, and it does, makes a difference in taste, I asked them if they'd like to buy our egges from the hens who have open access to our feedlot. (free range) I never got any reply from that. lol

In the case of the Iowa farmers, I wonder if those people critizing ever thought about the size of the hog wallow it would take to produce their bacon for breakfast, pork chop for lunch, and barbecued ribs for dinner. Hogs are hogs and they adapt themselves very quickly to their environment. Their natural environment is a hog wallow to keep the flies off and keep them cool. In their natural environment the survival rate of new borns is usually less than 50%.


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This page contains just one story published on July 10, 2011. The one written previous to this is titled "What Patriotism Means to Me" and the story published right after this one is "Rep. Pompeo Wrong On Cutting Alternative Energy Research"

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