Beers, David. "The Public Sphere and Online, Independent Journalism." Canadian Journal of Education/ Revue canadienne de l'education. 29 (1): 109-130
Beers, the founder of The Tyee, a civic journalism website discusses civic journalism as a tool in education that will fulfill Habermas's ideal of the public sphere, a place where public debate can take place. Beers asserts that media should act as a transparent informant where debate is fostered, rather than a tool of manipulation of those who take part in the public sphere. Beers discusses cross ownership in the Canadian markets and says that homogenized content is not only the result of fewer voices creating more content but also a result of advertisers manipulation of the market to suit their wants and needs. Having a subjective perspective on a story is not problematic, as most media outlets have an agenda, citizen journalism included. The problem is when there is only one agenda being pushed. Beers identifies two types of alternative news, those who exist in context of media conglomerates, whose purpose is to counter the corporate media consensus. And then there are those alternative media sites who exist to serve a niche and/or marginalized market. Beers goes on to outline three types of alternative news media: 1) E-zine news media; 2) the blogosphere; 3) open publishing sites. He also goes onto to explain the challenges that these alternative media forums face such as establishing creditiblity, an audience and gathering resources.
Beers paper is relevant in my discussion of citizen journalism in how he separates the different types of sites. The structure of a blog can have different consequences and render a different audience than an opening publishing site. It can also complicate the ethical arguments surrounding citizen journalism: what are the responsibilities of a citizen journalist if any and who is responsible in the case of misinformation? Many of Beers claims of cross ownership and homogenized content in Canada reflect the circumstances of the United States of America presented in Klinenberg's book, Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America's Media. The similarities are striking and help show the gravity of the situation as well at he internationality of it.