“Do the Right Thing” do Citizen Journalism

A mini introduction to “How to Create ‘Debates’ ” is found (without offending..) in the opinions differences between two NP contributors on  the theme ‘Is Global Warming’ man-made or a hoax’, (12/16/2007)…(see here)

Global Warming Rio

Global Warming NT

Photos source.                                    ‘Global Warming’

Similar difference in opinions rages on the ‘citizen journalism’ versus conventional journalism debate, on a terrain  more slippery than ever. From David Hazinsky’s article “Unfettered ‘citizen journalism’ too risky” , (12/13/07, ajc.com > Opinion), I quote a few key phrases: “…It ranges from the CNN YouTube debates to political blogs to cellphone video of that sniper who opened fire at an Omaha Mall. These are all examples of so called ‘citizen journalism,’ the hot new extension of the news business where the audience becomes the reporter”…”.Advocates argue that the acts of collecting and distributing makes these people ‘journalists’.This is like saying someone who carries a scalpel is a ‘citizen surgeon’ or someone who can read a law book is a ‘citizen lawyer’.”… “Education, skill and standards are really what make people into trusted  professionals. Information without journalistic standards is called gossip.”..”So without any real standards, anyone has a right to declare himself or herself a journalist.”... see the full article.

Two days latter (12/14/07 ajc.com > Opinion)  Leonard Witt published an answer in his article “Citizen journalists: They don’t need to be regulated“.I quote some key phrases: ” He [David Hazinsky]  doesn’t think the formerly passive news media audience members are very trustworthy. He [David Hazinsky] adds:’Journalism schools such as mine at the University of Georgia should add courses to certify citizen journalists in proper ethics and procedure , much as volunteer teachers, paramedics and sheriff’s auxiliaries are trained and certified’. “.. Here, Leonard Witt, wrote: “You can be a great journalist without formal training.” and mentions, I quote… former Washington Post reporter Betty Medsger who surveyed relatively new journalists, those with less than 11 years’ experience. She found that 27 percent had never studied journalism.”… see full article.

I found the original statistic in Betty Medsger’s essay “Getting Journalism Education Out of the Way” ( Zone for Debate, 2002). I quote:
“59 percent of print journalists who won Pulitzer Prizes never studied journalism;
75 percent of broadcast journalists who won DuPont Awards never studied journalism;
58 percent of journalists awarded Nieman Fellowships never studied journalism, and;
51 percent of journalists awarded Knight Fellowships at Stanford University never studied journalism.” …
…  “What would journalism professors think of this?…   Upon hearing the findings, many journalists and journalism educators simply dismissed them, thinking: these people are probably graduates of elite east coast schools who profited from nepotism or other connections to get hired by elite east coast news organizations.That explanation, which I considered myself when I first saw the data, is wrong. The journalists in each group — the award and fellowship winners, as well as the 27 percent of new journalists — were a very diverse group. They were graduates of colleges and universities from throughout the nation: public and private, small and large, a few elite, mostly non-elite. Some were graduates of universities that grant respected journalism degrees. They weren’t employed by elite eastern news organizations, they were employed everywhere, at a wide range of types and sizes among newsrooms throughout the country. The only obvious thing they had in common was the fact that they had not studied journalism.  What did these people know that others do not know? Perhaps a lot. More than half of them majored in either literature or history. The rest majored in a wide sampling of liberal arts and science disciplines.”…
the full article is here.

So, this little piece of statistic will not put an end to the debate on ‘Citizen Journalism’ between David Hazinsky and Leonard Witt,  but it restore a better weighing of its inner components. After all, professional journalist with prestigious prices never studied journalism.


As an historical footnote: journalist without studies in journalism.

Walter Lipman.. I quote “…at age 17, entered Harvard University where he studied under George Santayana, William James, and Graham Wallas. He concentrated on philosophy and languages (he spoke both German and French) and graduated after only three years of study.”..see here.

Bob  Woodward (The Watergate affair) I quote  “enrolled in Yale University with an NROTC scholarship, and studied history and English literature.”….”He applied to several law schools, but also applied for a job as a reporter for The Washington Post. Harry Rosenfeld, the paper’s metropolitan editor, hired him on a two-week trial basis, a tryout that failed because of his complete lack of experience as a journalist. Still interested in becoming a reporter, he got a job with the Montgomery Sentinel. A year after his on-the-job training at the Sentinel, he left that paper and joined The Washington Post in August 1971.” see here.

And finally, from my own trade as a visual artist, the painter Johannes Vermeer “Essentially self-taught as a painter, readily absorbed the lessons of his predecessors and peers. In his town of Delft, Vermeer’s known to have shared artistic ideas with painter Pieter de Hooch during the 1650s.”….see here.

Girl with a Pearl Earring

Photo source.

I published this story on NowPublic and add here the comments by  NowPublic editors and contributing members.

One Reply to ““Do the Right Thing” do Citizen Journalism”

  1. Ciaooo,stò cercando di sviluppare un blog giornale in cui gli articoli sono scritti dai blogger WordPress (o al limite se non hai tempo posso scriverti io un’articolo prendendolo dal tuo blog e rimandandolo al tuo blog…).
    Avrai pure la possibilità se vuoi di crearti una tua categoria chiamandola col nome del tuo blog dove inserire i tuoi articoli.
    Il blog giornale nasce con l’intento di dare maggior visibilità al tuo blog e alla gente che cerca in rete la possibilità di trovare articoli di maggiore qualità in un’unico posto (visti i migliaia di blog che nascono ogni giorno…).
    Se ti và uno scambio link col blog giornale contattami pure.
    ti ringrazio anticipatamente e a presto


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