Information society is inevitability in an era of development in technology of communication and information. Citing a statement of Alvin Toffler, which divides human civilization into 3 parts, then the concept of information society emerges as the final step after agricultural society and industrial society. Surely the change of society type in this information era is based on the fact that information traffic is very high among the citizens.
Technology of Communication and Information becomes a supporting factor of the more information traffic intensely floating among the citizens. There are various kinds of channels and platforms now existing to facilitate the citizens (especially in the context of internet, such as bloggers, subscribers, or widely called netizen) to participate in various activities of communication such as writing, sharing information and photos, and involving in any discussions at social media domain with any various topics.
One populer practice related to the activitiy and involvement of citizens in cyberspace is citizen journalism. This concept of citizens journalism itself point on the activity which is actively plays a role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing, and spreading the information and news. (Rosen J., Merritt D., & Austin, L. 1997. Public Journalism: Theory And Practice: Lessons From Experience. Ohio: Kettering Foundation) Moreover, this activity itself gains more acknowledgment from the existency aspect since various crucial moments are presented even not by mainstream media but by the citizens involvement in publishing those moments become the news either through mainstream media or personal media such as blog and their own social media.
The transformation into information citizen requires a good literacy level too. A good literacy becomes the fundamental so that the development of the citizens knowledge especially in media domain can contribute to their culture. Literacy itself is realized as an acquisition of skills and knowledge to read, interpret, compile certain kinds of text and artifacts and also to get devices and intellectual capacity so that the citizens can fully contribute in their society and culture. (Kellner, D, dan Share, J.2003. Toward “Critical Media Literacy: Core Concepts, Debates, Organizations, and Policy dalam Discourse: Studies In The Cultural Politics Of Education Vol 26, No. 3. September 2005, Hlm. 369-386) On the other hand, there is another opinion states that literacy is not only the abilities in reading and writing but also the abilities to placing, evaluating, using and communicating through various resources including resources of text, visual, sound and video (Iriantara, Yosal. 2009. Literasi Media. Apa, Mengapa, Bagaimana. Simbiosa Rekatama Media. Bandung.).
The advance in technology of communication and information also presents further the demands of literacy, one of them is digital literacy. Steve Wheeler mentions 9 elements related to digital literacy, they are social networking, managing digital identity, transliteracy, maintaining privacy, creating content, organising and Sharing Content, Reusing/ Repurposing content, filtering and selecting content, and the last one is self broadcasting. Related to self broadcasting, the important point is that there is any effort to share unique ideas or concept and also multimedia content in any of the forms of forum, blog or wikis which show a participation of online society. (Wheeler, Steve.2012. Digital Literacies For Engagement In Emerging Online Cultures.elc Research paper Series,5,14-25.) Therefore, it is in accordance that the practice of citizens journalism as a citizen participation in new media, especially ones which are based on internet, also stimulate the process of digital literacy itself.
Kompasiana as a channel for the practice of citizen journalism
The practice of citizens journalism itself in Indonesia is very common to do nowadays. The media, either mainstream or personal media, offers the ease for the journalistic practitioners to be actively involved. This understanding of citizens journalism itself is related to Lasica:
a citizen or citizens playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing, and disseminating news and informations (Lasica, D. (ed.) (2003). We Media: How audiences are shaping the future of news and information. Retrieved from: http://www.hypergene.net/wemedia/download/we_media.pdf) Accessed on: 13-07-2018(p.220)
Therefore, that definition allows the journalism practice to be done by whoever either with or without any background and journalistic experience. Moreover, the technology advance allows the access in aspects of device, application and web so that the material such as news, photos, and other information can be delivered widely and accessed by anyone.
Related to the practice of citizen journalism, there is an interesting phenomena in Indonesia. Beside non mainstream channels such as personal blog and personal social media, even the involvement of mainstream media in case of opening channel to acomodate the desire of citizens journalists to involve in delivering news. One of any media which plays a role in developing the practice of citizen journalism is Kompasiana. Kompasiana remains consistent with either format of writing or opinion which comes from personal thought and runs with website format.
Kompasiana is initially started in 2008 to facilitate the internal journalists of Kompas who want to write about things related to journalistic practice with the blogger style. However, in the next months, the objective shifts for the public. Using the objective format addressed for public, then the viewing process is also changed since the writing of the Kompasianers (a call for writers at Kompasiana) is also mediated by Gatekeeper from Kompasiana's editorial team. By having various categories such as “Ekonomi”, “Fiksiana”, “Gaya Hidup”, “Hiburan”, “Humaniora”, “Olahraga”, “Politik”, “Teknologi”, and “Kotak Suara”, then there are more or less 300 writing per day reviewed in 4 shifts.
Talking about the practice of citizens journalism, the main product of a Kompasianer is article. With the total of articles up to 15.000.000 (based on December 2017), the Kompasiana's articles are also choosen by editorial staff to become editor choice or even Headline. However, the important point is that the content reponsibility is fully on the personel of Kompasianers though there is mechanism that Kompasiana also provides space to report the published writing. Indeed, if there is any complaint related to the writing, the editorial staff will review it and also if there is thing againts the conditions on content and service then it may be deleted.
In order to provide content or articles having quality from Kompasiana then the Kompasiana gives 13 points on Content Conditions. This Content Conditions surely becomes Kompasiana's form of business to produce the citizen journalists who understand the importance of literacy by producing a good article content. Related to the 13 points on content conditions, there are important points which become the important guide such as: ban on plagiarism, ban on asaulting of others' character and personality, ban on polarizing religion teaching and belief, ban on publishing hoax news and information, pornography, decency, and also conditions on other technical things. Those conditions are intended so that the articles content produced by the Kompasianer becomes a good practice of citizen journalism. A proof which is given related to content conditions is that if a Kompasioner has alreday made infringement 5 times, then the Kompasiana's editorial staff has a right to block.
Citizen journalist as audience: Literate & upload
An important aspect of the practice of citizen journalism itself is the citizens' liveliness to invlove in a process of producing information or news. The Kompasiana web itself has reached 335.000 Kompasianers (based on December 2017). On the other hand, the Kompasiana's page view itself has reached 26.000.000 per month with 13.000.000 unique visitors per month. (https://www.kompasiana.com/tentang-kompasiana/penghargaan Accessed on: 20-06-2018) The citizens journalists who are active in a process of producing the news or articles absolutely become a good potency for activities of citizens journalism itself. A discussion about the practice of citizens journalism increases the citizens participation related to discussion in public room becomes a positive view point. However, another side which cannnot be forgotten is the citizens journalists or Kompasianers themselves are the audiences of the media itself.
As the audiences of a new media, the Kompasioners surely are the unique audiences compared to prior conventional media such as television, radio, and even printed newspaper. With a type of media which is more interactive, hypertext, and digital; the new media presents a chance for its audiences to have more “power”compared to the television viewers, newspaper readers, or radio listeners. One of the “power” which is very sexy from the audiences of new media is their ability to share what things on their mind and heads through “upload” and “share” facilities so that those things can be accessed and read by million people who are connected and who have network. Therefore, in this point, there is such more responsibility as the audiences who are also citizens journalists.
A keyword which becomes point of the citizen journalists who use new media is literacy. Any effort to keep and increase the literacy of the citizen journalists also requires attention from the media which is the channels of the citizen journalists themselves. In the context of the articles at Kompasiana, in order to maintain the quality of the writing then the editorial staff do screening, editing process, deciding an article wether or not will be published, and even until the delete process if there is any conditions infringement. Besides, any effort to give writing training and effort collecting the Kompasianers are also a part of keeping the citizens journalists themselves. In the framework of this practice, it is shown that there is profitable symbiosis between citizen journalists and media; in this case is Kompasiana. On one side, the citizen journalists or Kompasianers needs a media to keep producing good articles and information and on the other side, media also provides atmosphere which can keep the sustainability of the process of practice of citizens journalism with good quality through content conditions so that in the context of digital literacy, especially in Indonesia, there is an empowerment.
The profil of Kompasianers themselves are dominated by male; 60%: 40% and based on the top four it is dominated by group of 18-24 year old people (27%), 25-34 year old people (21%), 6-14 year old people (17%), 35-44 year old people (15%). There is data of APJII related to a composition of internet users based on their age shows that the biggest users are a group of 19-34 year old people as big as 49,52%. From the point of accesseed service then the 55,30% of internet users using the internet for accessing articles. (APJII. 2017. Infografis Penetrasi & Perilaku Pengguna Internet Indonesia Survey 2017. Accessed on: 20-06-2018) Therefore, if it is synchronized from the age of users and accessed service, it shows the appropriate as well as positive trend for the practice of citizens journalism itself.
Citizen journalism is a form of journalism practice which can be the medium for democratization of civilians. It is absolutely related to the availability of alternative flow of information so that information and topic are not an actors domination either by state hegemony or the dominant media. Related to that ideal function, it is obviously that the practice of citizens journalism itself also needs medium as well as facility which are transparent and able to present the atmosphere of quality which is good to maintain the output from practice of citizens journalism itself. Furthermore, besides maintaining the quality of output from a good practice of citizens journalism then there is such more power to keep improving the citizens literacy toward the information. Moreover, with the advance of the development in technology of information and communication, it allows the spreading the information rapidly.
Related to the objective of citizens journalism, then Kompasiana, as a form of media for citizens to involve in the process of citizens democratization, offers the channel to exchange ideas and thought. The results of thingking and also the idea are transformed into articles and writing which can be widely accessed by citizens especially those who can access the internet. The results of thinking from these citizens are surely the result of the critical scrutiny of citizens in seeing phenomena and also the courage of citizens to transform into the writing which are also have good quality. On the other hand, an effort to produce the writing with good quality does not only exist in the writers themselves, in this case they are The Kompasianers, but also in the channel of citizens journalism itself; Kompasiana. That responsibility exists by providing the good atmosphere to maintain the output from the good citizens. Therefore, up to this point, there is a meet point between the two parties (media and citizens) with their own needs which finally empties into one point of impact; a better ability of citizens literacy. Therefore, an ecosystem of the practice of citizens journalism which is mediated by media and also the behaviour of the citizens themselves in media become better.