From the images taken by citizen photojournalists, the news media select the most emotionally engaging shots. By and large creating icons, news media uses these shots in such a way as to make them memorable. What would be otherwise mundane shots if not for the fact that the photos and videos are from witnesses or survivors of the news event. Because photos of the people who lived to tell of the tragic incidents are inimitable, the power of such images are valuable in a historical, social and emotional context. This paper will examine how such iconic photographs are enabled by improved technology used by citizen photojournalists. A question to be addressed is how amateur photojournalism has emerged and changed the history of press photojournalism. The framework used will be through the concept of "public culture" (Hariman and Lucarites 2008). Citizens capture scenes that are not unseen before: from survivors' perspectives to exposing government and official authorities' misconducts in an unedited, direct format, which breaks down barriers of hidden agendas, of false idealism of a nation. The Public culture's image has changed as citizens present another perspective which reveals more truth and objectivity than traditional journalism and made its photographs iconic. Citizen photojournalism, with the advent of new technologies, will continue to thrive until citizens themselves might be the reporters of news events, presenting in-depth, unbiased form of news analysis.
Traditional journalism is no longer perceived as the only means of information distribution. Ordinary citizens are taking an active role in news reporting. Equipped with portable Internet access and cell phones with built-in cameras and video recorders, they can now capture developing news stories and send them immediately to news organizations for distribution. As they witness, experience, and gather news information, they are seeing themselves as active journalists, presenting stories from their perspective. In short, the traditional model of journalism has been challenged, if not revolutionized. Traditional news groups enact a classic means of organizing and reporting back to the public, but do not encourage the deliberation of empowering citizens to take initiatives in political stances, exercising their democratic rights to break down barriers, dissecting the truth out of news reports, and creating a movement for social justice. There should be more commitment in mobilizing citizens to be more political, for marginalized social groups to be heard, and public deliberation should be completed. News organizations should not simply encourage content from citizens, or include them marginally in topics of concern, but help organize them as partners of political action.