tools directory

Citizen Reporting

Citizen Reporting

What situations is this tool used in?

Citizen or social reporting involves individuals in real time reporting on current affairs, or from specific events such as conferences and workshops. It is strongly focused on social media and other online tools as mechanisms for transmitting and collating photos, videos and comments.

Who is this tool aimed at?

Anyone can participate in citizen or social reporting, although sometimes specific groups will come together for the purpose of reporting on particular events or from a particular region. For example, Indymedia is a collection of journalists and independent media organisations offering grassroots, non-corporate coverage of world events, and encouraging wider public input through an online platform. 

How Is the Tool Used?

Social reporting in this context tends to be a specific term for the use of social media to report collectively and live from events such as workshops and conferences. It enables real time sharing of documents, presentations, pictures, film and text. It differs from traditional event reporting in that it is interactive and collaborative, with purposes including the development of a shared memory of what happened, increased accessibility and extension of the conversation beyond those who attended the event. 

Citizen reporting tends to be less focused on one-off events and more towards ongoing reporting of events (either general or specific, e.g. crime), often in a specific geographical location, and sometimes involving the production of a real time map of reports. The term citizen journalism is also used for the general role of citizens in collecting, reporting, analysing and disseminating news or information – again increasingly utilising social media channels.

Who has used the tool?

Voice of Kibera is a citizens reporting project in Nairobi, Kenya overseen by Map Kibera. Using an online platform, it aggregates reports of incidents from local citizens, community media and other news or information sources. Reports are compiled into a map, in order to present a visual report of activity in and around Kibera, one of the largest slums in Africa.

Map Kibera website 

Voice of Kibera summary

Voice of Kibera home page

Where to find out more

Indymedia summary 

Social reporting summary 

Film on citizen reporting