Citizen Journalism and its effect on brands

randall tesocsCitizen journalism is defined as “the collection, dissemination, and analysis of news and information by the general public, especially by means of the Internet.”

You’re probably thinking about recorded videos and pictures made by the general public for news such as the Ferguson riots. Citizen journalism doesn’t stop at the reporting of hard hitting news from the general public’s perspective,  something as harmless such as taking a picture inside a Tesco supermarket, can become the subject of news as a result of citizen journalism  putting ‘said’ brand on edge.

A few days a go a picture of an alleged deep fried rat served in KFC surfaced on the internet, creating a public outrage and giving KFC bad publicity.


KFC, fully aware of the damage this could cause to their brand if it got out of hand issued several press releases before finally proving that the so-called rat was in fact chicken. Imagine the panic KFC’s marketing team went through in order to resolve this story which popped out of nowhere with no given warning just because of a picture someone took.

Tesco are now faced with a similar problem, not on the same magnitude as KFC but still something that could  put people off going to the store, as if they weren’t already having enough trouble with their falling market share.


The image above rapidly surfaced on twitter. At a first glance you would think the problem with the picture is that all the Pringles packages are not facing the front (I sure know I did). If you really look at it again, you would notice Ramadan and bacon appear to be part of the same promotion, which is a real conflict of interest considering muslims do not eat bacon. Since the surfacing of the picture, many people on twitter have really torn into Tesco due to being offended by the picture. As a result Tesco has released a public apology to those who were offended.

Basically citizen journalism can land a brand in hot water, here’s a thought:

Try and think of a scenario where citizen journalism did something positive to a brand.


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