Can anyone be a journalist? With the recent explosion of “citizen journalism,” this question has been the center of many debates in my journalism classes at IU. Journalists defend journalism as a professional discipline, but the activity taking place in the blogosphere can’t be ignored.

Citizen journalism exploded with the terrorist attacks on 9/11 and has been propelled into the spotlight with events like the Hudson River plane crash. But are the people uploading this content really journalists?

CNN’s iReport is the closest these people have come to being “journalists.” iReport is a completely user-generated section of CNN.com, and the stories are not edited, fact-checked or screened. But holding the title of “journalist” requires a certain credibility that citizen journalists can’t claim. They make a meaningful contribution to society, but they will never completely replace those who study to work in the field.

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