The purpose of this project is to analyze the recent phenomenon of citizen journalism. The internet has created a new platform for the creation and distribution of information. The layman or amateur is now able to perform professional functions through news websites, blogs, photo sharing sites, etc. Newsworthy material is no longer guarded by a select few people who the general public must depend on to remain informed. With this new power that the layman has yielded comes responsibility though... or does it? Should the layman be held accountable by the same standards as a traditional journalist, if they are in fact performing the same function? Furthermore, is it really possible for an amateur to perform the same function as a professional? This is to say much of what makes a professional is based on the technology they have access to, a journalist is not simply a journalist simply because he writes or even because he has studied journalism but because he is a part of a recognized industry. Other issues surrounding the move of traditional print news sources move to the internet are to be discussed. What threat do citizen journalists pose to traditional papers' websites? Can anyone really compete with the Washington Post or the New York Times? Perhaps most importantly the question of why citizen journalism became so popular will be addressed. I hypothesize that technology has a great deal to do with it. People create blogs and offer their opinion to the digitally connected world simply because they are now able to. High quality camera phones and digital cameras allow us to interact in a way and with an immediacy that was never possible before, so why not indulge. But, beyond egotistical motivations I think cross media market monopolies must be held accountable. The homogenization of news material, amongst other things, has forced the "amateur" to take news gathering into his own hands. With the help of the FCC and deregulation, media conglomerates are now able to own mostly all of the venues of information for entire markets. Television stations, radio stations (i.e. Clear Channel) and newspapers are all owned by the same company in some markets, which begs the question what is being fed to the public? If we depend on these limited resources to inform an ever growing populace, everything from what the local weather will be like to how we will vote for the future of our country, then a lack of diverse opinions threatens democracy. I this very homogenization is part of the reason that the citizen has taken things into his own hands to become an autonomous news source.