Valets and and media-literary training noted in Tufts graduate thesis as key components of journalism future

A Tufts University media-studies student proposes a new model of "pro-am" collaboration in graduation thesis completed in May. An international student from Singapore, Rachelle Goh enters Northwestern in the fall. In her paper, she says "information valets" and increased media literacy are important components of the new model.

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The paper -- entitled: "Mainstream Media Meets Citizen Journalism: In Search of a New Model" -- explores the rise of citizen journalism -- the process whereby citizens actively collect, report and analyze news and information - and its impact on the traditional news media.

It depicts the environment in which citizen journalism is developing through looking at the Internet as a form of mass media and also at the recent empowerment of  consumers, more commonly known as Web 2.0. Rather than proclaiming that newspapers and other news media have no future, it is argued that a new model of journalism needs to be conceived -- one that harnesses both the strengths of traditional journalism and those of citizen journalism.

The paper seeks to propose a new model that is based largely on pro-am collaboration: professional journalists and amateurs, or citizens, working together on news stories. Information valets and increased media literacy are also important components of the new model. Through this new architecture for the news media industries, the shortcomings of traditional journalism, such as the lack of democracy, and the problems with citizen journalism, such as credibility and accuracy, can be overcome.

Goh (rachelle.goh@tufts.edu) will be pursuing an MSc in integrating marketing communications at Northwestern.  The paper won an excellence award from her Tufts faculty advisors.

Goh majored in international relations, and minored in communications and media studies at Tufts. She has always been interested in current affairs and in the interaction between media and society. In 2002, she
began blogging, talking mostly about her daily life and her thoughts on what was happening around her, but often self-censoring her writing.

Coming from Singapore, where press freedom is limited, she found the
concept of citizen journalism intriguing and decided to dig deeper into it through this senior thesis. In her free time, Rachelle likes to cook for her friends, do crossword puzzles, and watch CSI.