A Society of Journalists

On my last post, I touched on the idea of how multimedia is changing journalism and communication into a more social experience for the community at large. For this post, I’ll coin this movement as “citizen journalism” and particularly referencing this J2150 reading.

Though it’s not an officially recognized genre of journalism, I would definitely consider it a “trend of the times.” With the emergence of Twitter and Facebook in the current technological revolution, the accessibility and efficiency of communication has grown exponentially. Particularly with the growth in blogs and bloggers, many internet users take it on as responsibility to do their own reporting.

Though I am afraid I’m getting a bit J1100 for you all, I believe that citizen journalism is becoming a matter of concern for quality journalism everywhere. With so many opportunities for publishing through the internet, it seems that the public and the “objective journalist” have become closely intersecting and it’s become too close for comfort. For many of us, this is our fourth journalism class here at the Zou and we’ve been indoctrinated with the concept that we are the third party between the public and story, the moderator you could say. However, citizen journalism is overwhelming the moderator role by allowing Op Eds to trend and become top results on search engines and Twitter while thoughtful articles by the likes of William Safire and Paul Krugman are pushed aside and deemed “boring.” The sensationalism and personality of blogs have raided the internet as the new journalism when it really isn’t even journalism at all. In a changing world of political and social values where the moderate is becoming extinct, the self-righteous, radical Tea Party and the bleeding, godless liberals live in some perfect chaos of shattered discourse, and mass communication can summed up by a 40 year old guy living in his mom’s basement with a Huffington Post account. Journalism’s soul purpose was to tell the public when the “man” was bringing them down and to tell the public when to stick it to them. Even back to Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, journalism has been a tentpole is preserving American values such as free speech, liberty, and transparency in government.

But I guess I am no better than the public as I write this blog ranting about how blogs destroy journalism while I myself am only just a student. Can I even be considered the public when I’m still being claimed on my parents’ taxes? Eventually we get into a discussion about what is truth whether the party we report on is honest or if the public decides the what the truth is or if the journalist properly represents and reports it. We could get into that discussion, but frankly there isn’t enough time in an eternity to find an answer to that question.

So I find myself asking the questions of a schizophrenic: Who am I? Am I the public? Or am I the journalist? And if I am the journalist, does that in some way make me the proverbial “man?”

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~ by Erin Morris on February 6, 2012.

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