Abstract: This article offers critical insights into new digital forms of citizen-led journalism. Many communities across western society are frequently excluded from participating in newsgathering and information dissemination that is directly relevant to them due to financial, educational and geographic constraints. News production is a risky business that requires professional levels of skill and considerable finances to sustain. Hence, ‘hyper-localised news’ are often absent from local and national debates. Local news reportage is habitually relegated to social media, which represents a privileged space where the diffusion of disinformation presents a threat to democratic processes. Deploying a place-based, person-centred approach towards investigating news production within communities in Cornwall, UK, this article reflects on a participatory action research project called the Citizen Journalism News Network (CJNN). The CJNN is an overt attempt to design disruptive systems for agenda setting through mass participation and engagement with social issues. The project was delivered within four communities via a twelve-week-long journalism course, and a bespoke online app. CJNN is a platform for citizen journalists to work collaboratively on investigating stories and raising awareness of social issues that directly affect the communities reporting on them.
Keywords: citizen journalism; digital innovation; disruptive networks; online platforms