As the vigilante journalism and investigations continue to propagate online, they seem to move further and further away from Jones' admirable, proudly amateur news gathering.
Jones told Buzz Feed the day after the Aurora shooting that his goal was not to gain notoriety or further a political agenda.
It has a vast new subject matter in the personal, corporate, and government information that has migrated to the social web.
But in many instances, citizen journalism is something like the more troubling idea of citizen policing — that is, vigilantism: taking the powerful, and even dangerous tools of journalism to the communities with the least responsible actors.
Just as blogs had given anyone with an internet connection and a keyboard a platform, media companies like AOL and CNN hoped that cell phones and high-speed internet would transform an army of private citizens and online hobbyists into freelance, oftentimes pro bono writers, videographers, and reporters."It feels like I'm helping out people who need to know this stuff," he said.Jones' aims, in other words, were well-intentioned; he wanted to work with the media, not in spite of it.More traditional media pundits blustered (somewhat rightly) about the dangers of news gathering from nonprofessional sources; outlets that reported on the Adult Friend Finder profile did not credit Jones or Reddit."It was sort of a strange feeling, like Reddit's supposed to be this aggregate news site, but we're actually breaking news to the media right now," Jones told the New York Times.
Social media, often fueled by citizens on the ground, has proven itself invaluable during breaking news for years, and role of the citizen journalist is likely to play an increasingly visible role in the current media ecosystem for some time now.