Share/E-mail This Story

Email This



Journalism Professor Says Citizen Journalists Should Be Regulated

from the ah,-the-old-elite-standards-again dept

There's just something about the idea a lack of "elite" gatekeepers that upsets some people. It's why you hear complaints about Wikipedia or blogs or home videos on YouTube. For some reason, there are a group of folks (often the former elitist gatekeepers) who feel that since not all of the content is great, useful or interesting, it all is problematic in some way or another. The latest to express this type of viewpoint is David Hazinski, a journalism professor and former NBC correspondent, claiming that "unfettered" citizen journalism is "too risky" and that it needs to be regulated (via Romenesko) by "official" media companies, handing out "certificates" to citizen journalists. Unfortunately, his basic premise seems to be incorrect. He states: "Supporters of "citizen journalism" argue it provides independent, accurate, reliable information that the traditional media don't provide." That's not quite true. While some supporters may claim that, in general the benefits of the idea that anyone can be a reporter isn't necessarily about reliable information, but about providing additional viewpoints and information to try to make sure that more of the story is out there for people to find. It's not necessarily about being better -- but just giving an outlet to people who can add more to the story. He's certainly right that it can be abused, but that's missing the point. Sure it can be abused. But so can the traditional press. What's more important is that such abuses can also be outed and brought to light, just like any other news story. Hazinski is right that professional journalists should be verifying the information provided by "citizen journalists" but that should be true of anyone they accept information from. Almost all of the complaints he lobs at these untrained journalists applies equally to the trained ones -- so it's hard to interpret this piece as anything but complaints from someone who doesn't like the riffraff encroaching on his turf.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    John, Dec 14th, 2007 @ 7:24pm

    Re:

    I don't understand why professional journalists feel so threatened by citizen journalists. I think that anyone who reads citizen journalism is certainly going to be more skeptical of the information than they would an AP story. In addition, if a citizen journalist became established and reputable, he almost certainly would become a professional journalist. Journalism has an important place in society, but journalists need to focus on embracing not only the internet, but the multitude of information sources on the internet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Bah who needs one, Dec 14th, 2007 @ 7:42pm

    Especially cute is the suggestion that entry into the news-reporting market be guarded directly by established media companies. Normally, when an oligopoly wants to guard entry by would-be competition, they lobby for government to regulate and issue permits and whatnot. I.e. the government will guard the hen house, and of course lots of hefty campaign contributions are paid by the fox. In this case, though, they were bold enough to propose that the fox himself personally guard the henhouse. :P

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Tim, Dec 14th, 2007 @ 7:45pm

    I wonder

    I know better than you therefore I have a right to control/legislate you.

    up urs

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 14th, 2007 @ 7:53pm

    This guy is like those idiot highschool students that voted overwhelmingly in a poll that there is too much free speech. The only difference is, this guy thinks everyone ELSE has too much free speech. But not him. Fuck that guy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 14th, 2007 @ 7:57pm

    Re:

    Especially cute is the suggestion that entry into the news-reporting market be guarded directly by established media companies. Normally, when an oligopoly wants to guard entry by would-be competition, they lobby for government to regulate and issue permits and whatnot. I.e. the government will guard the hen house, and of course lots of hefty campaign contributions are paid by the fox. In this case, though, they were bold enough to propose that the fox himself personally guard the henhouse. :P

    What he wants is a guild that has government granted control of a trade. Much like the Bar Association. He wants to make it illegal for people to practice the profession of journalism without government approval by proxy.

    If this ever came true, the freedom of the press would be absolutely worthless as the government could then just revoke the press license of anyone that wanted to use one (They would instruct the guild to revoke it, and if they didn't, they would just revoke the guild's right to give out certificates and revoke all the ones they have given out).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Alfred E. Neuman, Dec 14th, 2007 @ 8:36pm

    Your wish can be granted

    "unfettered" citizen journalism is "too risky" and that it needs to be regulated (via Romenesko) by "official" media companies, handing out "certificates" to citizen journalists.

    This guy needs to move to China, where his opinion is welcome.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Joe Harkins, Dec 14th, 2007 @ 10:17pm

    Regulate Professors

    Hazinski's position makes it urgent that the government regulate college professors. They are dangerous, what with offering opinions no one asked for and putting their noses into other people's business . . . oh wait, that's us citizen journos.

    The primary requirement for a professor's license should be the ability to explain the meaning of the First Amendment. You know, that really confusing and fuzzy-language part where it starts out, "Congress shall make no law . . . "

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2007 @ 12:02am

    The mainstream media is just an arm of the state. The bloggers can't possibly be less responsible than they are.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    zhanate, Dec 15th, 2007 @ 12:28am

    He's a professor -- that doesn't make him a professional journalist. The worst place to learn about journalism is in college these days. Getting the government to license or otherwise regulate credentials for journalists is the last thing journalists, citizen or professional, need. That's how you put government in control of what gets published. Good journalists having nothing to fear from citizen journalism.

    In the end, what matters is your track record over time. If the competition forces professional media to be more flexible and hit harder, so be it. I do think in the end accuracy and fairness will win out, despite the people who only want to read what feeds their own beliefs, whether the journalist is paid well, poorly or not at all. (Yeah, I'm one of those evil professionals.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Patrick Phelan, Dec 15th, 2007 @ 1:52am

    Re: Your wish can be granted

    Yeah, no kidding. Does he really think that information provided by the people can justifiably be controlled? Sure there's junk out there, and lots of it. Guess what? There's also a whole lot of professional junk out there as well. And in my opinion I like the amateur junk a lot more, if only because their junk isn't usually trying to sell me a product of theirs.

    Much of professional media is influenced by factors other than simply 'providing good and useful information.' Many professional stories are made simply to get a customer to purchase their product, without containing any really useful information; therefore limiting what useful information that they do give to us. Eh, there's a lot more to be said on this but at 2 in the morning my mind won't find it for me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    yogi, Dec 15th, 2007 @ 2:12am

    It's hilarious that people who work(ed) in the established American media have this kind of Anti-freedom attitude.
    There is something about people being free that really bugs them.
    No wonder they hate America.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Rich Kulawiec, Dec 15th, 2007 @ 3:39am

    Why not focus on doing a better job?

    Of course, the suggestion that regulations should be imposed is absurd, so I think that can be discarded. I think it'd be better for "established" journalists to focus on why the "amateurs" are rapidly gaining an audience and threatening the status quo.

    In my view, the single biggest reason is that journalists, at least here in the US, have failed miserably to do what they should be doing: bring a skeptical eye to the important issues of the day. What they've done instead is to pander to those of low intelligence -- they've become gossip-mongers.

    The most egregious examples of this are the 24-hour news channels (which, btw, excludes Fox -- it's not a news channel, it's a propaganda engine). Instead of focusing on important issues such as the erosion of civil liberties, the criminal conduct of the administration, the looming disaster of global warming, and so on...we are instead shown story after story about Britney, Paris, and other worthless "celebrities". We have vicious racist Lou Dobbs ranting about a border crisis that doesn't exist. We have Nancy Grace going on about whatever the latest murder or disappearance is -- these stories are NOT national news. We have car chases, we have imbeciles like Glenn Beck, we have shouting (not talking) heads in a farcial parody of serious debate, we have "scandal" stories that are childish nonsense, we have inexcusably rude pigs like Chris Matthews, and so on.

    Journalists should be ashamed and embarrassed by this. At a time when their country needs them to focus on serious, critical issues they're obsessed with trivia. (And gimmicky backgrounds, crawling text, and other visual garbage that makes news broadcasts look like a video game.)

    And I don't mean to overlook newspapers, which are headed this same direction. Only a few (the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the San Francisco Examiner come to mind offhand) have shown some of the tenacity required to thoroughly investigate the most important stories of the day. And even they have had serious lapses, e.g., their failures to figure out that the run-up to the amazingly stupid invasion of Iraq was based on lies -- against, something that everyone of even middling intelligence figured out well in advance.

    The bottom line is that if "professional" journalists feel threatened, it's a problem of their own making. Their laziness, their stupidity, their lack of courage is rendering them rapidly useless. If they want to turn it around -- and I hope they do -- then they will need to adopt as role models Woodward/Bernstein, two of the heroes of their profession. Or Edward R. Murrow, the man who faced down the tyrants of his time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Dan, Dec 15th, 2007 @ 5:57am

    Like "professional journalists" are any better at verifying their information than citizen journalists? Pulllease. You mean like FAUX news? You mean the NYTimes and WMD? The number of examples of inaccurate and knowingly biased reporting are overwhelming.

    The media is filled with misinformation and opinion. The media, the entire spectrum from TV, radio, papers, the web, are all subject to scrutiny. You read, you interpret, you make judgments about the validity of the information. And, in the end you believe what you want. The real problem is that we are not teaching people to be critical of what they read or see.... to be able to separate fact from opinion and belief.

    And, it goes without stating--we already have a document that I suggest Mr. Hazinski read... the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Wolf, Dec 15th, 2007 @ 6:42am

    During the 2000 election we were presented with a war hero and a deserter. The hero was painted as a deserter, and the deserter was painted as a hero. Thank you, main-stream media. This was a classic example of "New-Speak" right out of "Brave New World".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2007 @ 6:54am

    He can issue a certificate to my shiny metal ass.


    All hail the hypnotoad!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Outed the Pros, Dec 15th, 2007 @ 6:57am

    Citizen Journalists

    Wasn't it 'citizen' journalists who proved Dan Rather's story on George Bush was fraudulent?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Jamie, Dec 15th, 2007 @ 10:30am

    The problem with "citizen journalism" is summed up with that title. Professional journalists are part of the "Fourth Estate," and act accordingly. This comes from the monarch days in which society existed in 3 estates: the church, the state, and the citizens. In other words, journalists must take themselves out of all of it and report objectively from outside of it. Under that belief, it is therefore impossible to be a true journalist and a citizen at the same time.

    The real issue, though, is that journalists adhere to very strict standards of professional ethics (see the Society of Professional Journalists), which means accuracy, objectivity, a commitment to informing the public, and not unjustly causing harm. Most so-called "citizen journalists" do not consistently follow these standards and few are even aware of the laws and ethics that govern the profession.

    This is not to say that non-journalists shouldn't be contributing to the public dialogue on important issues, but rather that a clear line needs to be drawn between journalism and citizen commentary. If people want to be journalists, then they should be. But you can't wear both hats at the same time and be credible.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Roger Schulman, Dec 15th, 2007 @ 11:05am

    Thank you Jamie

    My journalistic skepticism and sense of fair play is triggered by this overwhelming response. I'm all for "citizen journalism" (doesn't that sound brave and Minuteman-ish?), and so are the media outlets. CNN and other media welcome such reports; they're desperately trying to join 'em because they can't beat 'em.

    But honestly, some guy with a camera phone has the same standards and integrity as someone who's made his life reporting the news and risks the credibility (and therefore the circulation) of his publication? Joe Schmoe from Blow checks his facts as carefully as the New York Times -- or checks his facts at all?

    Not to mention things that may motivate a citizen journalist that just don't enter into the equation with a professional: "Dude, wouldn't it be cool if people believe this?" Or "I hate that guy, I'm gonna doctor this image."

    Spare me your conspiracy theories and mile-wide paintbrushes. And keep in mind that 98% of journalists are working stiffs making far less than $100,000, not millionaire Dan Rather types. So-called citizen journalism is a very American phenomenon and can be a very good thing. But it isn't better than, nor does it replace, the working press.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Roger Schulman, Dec 15th, 2007 @ 11:05am

    Thank you Jamie

    My journalistic skepticism and sense of fair play is triggered by this overwhelming response. I'm all for "citizen journalism" (doesn't that sound brave and Minuteman-ish?), and so are the media outlets. CNN and other media welcome such reports; they're desperately trying to join 'em because they can't beat 'em.

    But honestly, some guy with a camera phone has the same standards and integrity as someone who's made his life reporting the news and risks the credibility (and therefore the circulation) of his publication? Joe Schmoe from Blow checks his facts as carefully as the New York Times -- or checks his facts at all?

    Not to mention things that may motivate a citizen journalist that just don't enter into the equation with a professional: "Dude, wouldn't it be cool if people believe this?" Or "I hate that guy, I'm gonna doctor this image."

    Spare me your conspiracy theories and mile-wide paintbrushes. And keep in mind that 98% of journalists are working stiffs making far less than $100,000, not millionaire Dan Rather types. So-called citizen journalism is a very American phenomenon and can be a very good thing. But it isn't better than, nor does it replace, the working press.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Shun, Dec 15th, 2007 @ 12:15pm

    U.S. Constitution...ever heard of it?

    It's quite refreshing to see the opinions of the so called "professional institutions" represented here on TechDirt, but the fact that a given profession is interested in preserving their monopoly on knowledge, or some sort of gate-keeping role is irrelevant to the subject of required certification.

    I am sure that the members of the Society of Professional Journalists are all very nice people, and I am sure that if you publish something and you tell your audience that you are a member of the Society, that your opinions may be given greater weight by the general public. Unfortunately, the professional society mindset usually gives way to the idea of "if it can be done this way, and many people agree that it should be done this way, then this is the only way to go." For many reasons, this idea was rejected by the Framers of the Constitution.

    The First Amendment prohibits the U.S. Government from infringing upon an individual's free exercise of speech. This is extended to religion, press, and various other forms of self-expression. The Fourteenth Amendment extends these rights to include protection from individual state power.

    In short, if you wanted to institute the certification requirement, it would be defeated in the courts. Sure, you may not be able to get a job, and you may be despised for being a non-certified citizen journalist, but no-one could prohibit you from writing whatever inane junk you wish to publish. Besides, if your ideas are nutty enough, who is going to give them credit?

    If you publish flat out lies, you can be sued for libel.

    I understand the desire for professional responsibility and courtesy, but from the citizen side of things, journalists have quite a bit of explaining to do. Why didn't journalists ask the tough questions about WMD's before the war? Why are we still waiting for someone in the Administration to spill the beans about who was responsible for the outing of Valerie Plame? What lies are the Administration telling us even now? Finally, why is U.S. mainstream news so very different, in terms of content and depth, from European news?

    If journalists merely turn the lens upon their own institution, and begin to examine the corporate and state structures responsible for constructing the news, you may begin to understand why citizens trust other citizens, and have less respect for professionals.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Dec 15th, 2007 @ 12:17pm

    Consistency

    Also, following on the Hazinski ideas in the article, let's push for consistency of the news messages, to keep things from getting confusing.

    Let's let Rupert Murdoch and the Clearwire CEO be the only two guys that can issue these journalist licenses.

    It makes sense, because I find having too many divergent opinions in the press tiring and difficult.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    CJ, Dec 15th, 2007 @ 1:14pm

    Professional Journalists?

    Why do professional journalists feel so threatened? Freedom of speech is what makes this country so great!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Rich Kulawiec, Dec 15th, 2007 @ 2:30pm

    Very nice, Jamie -- *in theory*

    I concur with the idea that journalists should adhere to high standards of accuracy, neutrality (except when editorializing), etc. I understand why those things are valuable, and why it's sometimes necessary for people to put their careers on the line for them.

    Now let's talk about reality...and reality is that television news is (mostly) about scoring ratings and thereby selling commercial time. Which is why lots of coverage of Anna Nicole is "good" and lots of coverage of complex issues (like, say, the internal political situation in Pakistan) is "bad". Too hard to explain. No boob shots. Too many difficult questions to which there may not be answers that reduce nicely to sound bites.

    And lets talk about newspapers -- why isn't the alleged gang-rape, kidnapping, etc. of an American citizen by other American citizens (in Iraq) on the front page of every newspaper in the country? Where is the tenacious investigation into FISA violations? Oh, wait, I'm sorry, I forgot -- better to cover the latest sex scandal, that'll sell more papers. Or maybe the lurid Peterson story, never mind that while it's a family tragedy, it's obviously not national news. Not even close.

    If professional journalists are unhappy that others are encroaching on their profession, then let them DO THEIR JOBS, which, for the most part, they are miserably failing to do. Let them prove -- at 11 pm every night and on the nation's doorsteps every morning -- that they have some grasp of what's news and what's gossip, rumor, and fluff.

    And most of all, let's see them have the courage to prove that they're not lapdogs of government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    herb charles, Dec 15th, 2007 @ 3:36pm

    citizen journalism debate!

    The author of the atlanta journal constitution piece has agreed to debate blogflict, blog.iconflict.com on the merits of citizen journalism. i hope bloggers will partake in this event, and offer comments on how to make it have a strong impact on MSM and citizen journalists.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2007 @ 4:54pm

    If I am a real estate agent...anyone mind if I require a certificate for you to sell your own house? After all...I subscribe to a code of ethics...you don't! If I am a chef, anyone mind if I require a certificate for you to cook for a party? You might poisen your guests...I never would because of my training. I could go on all day

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Overcast, Dec 15th, 2007 @ 5:13pm

    Yep, censor them - but just start with this asshole.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Overcast, Dec 15th, 2007 @ 5:18pm

    Let him know how ya' feel - while you still have a right to free speech anyway...

    http://www.grady.uga.edu/resources.php?page=facultyandstaff_profiles.inc.php%7Cfac_ID=17

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Jeff, Dec 15th, 2007 @ 6:20pm

    If Hazinski is representative of the journalism professors teaching the next generation of journalists, we definitely need more citizen journalists. We're well on our way to destroying the Bill of Rights.

    I was a journalism student back when ethics, objectivity, and a free press were the hallmarks of good journalism. Now the mainstream media seem to be sold out either to a political bias or to ratings in the form of tabloid-style stories. The media are to blame for the first, and we as consumers the other.

    Maybe it's an idealized memory of my youth, but I seem to remember the days when journalists would ask hard-hitting questions on both sides of the political fence. Now we have the 'hard hitting' interviews like Katie and Hillary a few weeks ago...pitiful. I'll gladly take more citizen journalism.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2007 @ 8:16pm

    Nice link overcast. I especially like the following:

    Experience
    He owns Intelligent Media Consultants, LLC, a company responsible for training the staffs and helping to launch eight television networks around the world, mostly on the sub-continent. These include Aaj Tak and CNN-IBN in India and GEO TV in Pakistan. He has also consulted for broadcasters and publishers such as the Voice of America, Gramedia in Indonesia, and Alsumaria in Beirut and Baghdad. While on the faculty, Hazinski spent two years as writer, co-host and technology advisor of the internationally syndicated World Business Review with Caspar Weinberger, the Secretary of Defense under Ronald Reagan. Before coming to UGA, Hazinski served six years as an international correspondent for NBC News, covering the U.S., Europe, and Central America -- and ten years before that as a TV reporter with stations in Charlotte and Pittsburgh.

    This guy sounds like a flat out America-Hating traitor to me. I was thinking he had crainial rectumitis, but after seeing his picture, it looks a lot more like penal rectumitis has bruised his brain.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    turnabout, Dec 15th, 2007 @ 9:01pm

    Citizen Journalists Say Journalism Professor should Be Regulated!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Hulser, Dec 15th, 2007 @ 9:06pm

    Re: Thank you Jamie

    Did you even read Mike's article? I'm constantly amazed by people who apparently skim over the article and formulate a reply based on their assumptions of what it meant, rather than what it actually said.

    To wit...
    So-called citizen journalism is a very American phenomenon and can be a very good thing. But it isn't better than, nor does it replace, the working press.
    Please tell me where in the post did Mike indicate that "citizen journalism" is better or should replace the working press? In fact, he specifically states that citizen journalism is "not necessarily about being better", but about adding additional viewpoints. So, you either replied to the wrong article or read the write article, but got the exact opposite message it actually conveyed. Sheesh.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Bob, Dec 15th, 2007 @ 10:24pm

    Nice try...

    First Amendment.


    GAME OVER, professor.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Rose, Dec 16th, 2007 @ 8:56am

    citizen journalists?

    My opinions and flat-out lies are just as good as anyone else's.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Another Rose, Dec 16th, 2007 @ 9:02am

    TV News

    TV News....hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha......

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Overcast, Dec 16th, 2007 @ 9:14am

    The real issue, though, is that journalists adhere to very strict standards of professional ethics (see the Society of Professional Journalists), which means accuracy, objectivity, a commitment to informing the public, and not unjustly causing harm.

    You don't seriously think that's really the case do you? lol

    Accuracy - that's laughable - at best. (CBS documents anyone?)

    Objectivity - ummm... lol, no need to comment do I? Sean Hannity, Charles Krauthammer, Wolf Blitzer, Dan Rather.. are they all 'objective'? LOL!!!

    Commitment to ratings, it has NOTHING to do with informing anyway - they even say that openly.

    Unjustly causing Harm.. The 'media' goes OUT OF IT'S WAY to find dirt on people and tragic news. How many people's lives have been crushed when the media starts assuming guilt before the court system? Just for starters...

    I mean - seriously, politicians have resigned just because of 'media sensation' before any guilt has ever been determined.

    The current 'media' and 'journalists' are so horrible there's a DEMAND for different news - why else is blogging and such becoming so very popular?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Tatja Short, Dec 16th, 2007 @ 10:25am

    impossible proposal

    I find it a bit overblown if this guy suggest that you can moderate the masses of people with a centralized structure.

    I think this job can and should be done by the readers on their own. I mean they could read the stuff or leave it alone, if they want to.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    windwolf, Dec 16th, 2007 @ 10:44am

    Writers Rights

    Consider this. This entire thread, if for some reason ever went on any web sight, without everyone having a licence, would be breaking the law. I for one have never been to jail but I would gladly go to preserve my freedom to say and type any opinion I choose.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2007 @ 12:25pm

    who needs citizen journalists?

    When you have Chris Mathews and Keith Olbermann who needs anything else? You dont need to balance the news when you are on the side of truth, right? That is why anyone who watches FOX news, votes republican, or dares to think that the UN shouldnt collect their taxes and run their lives should immediately be marched off to concentration camps for re-education preferably in balmy Alaska where all the polar bears have died due to global warming. Long live Democracy!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    icon
    TX CHL Instructor (profile), Dec 16th, 2007 @ 1:22pm

    Obviously,

    ...David Hazinski needs more regulation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Kevin Stokes, Dec 16th, 2007 @ 2:35pm

    in re: Journalism Professor Says Citizen Journali

    Mike's commentary is spot-on. Claims can be verified, facts can be checked. The more points-of-view, the merrier! It's healthy that all this information journalists uncover is not always under lock-and-key, and is thrown into the arena of ideas for discussion and debate...

    Academics, as a group, governments in particular, and traditional media outlets in general, favor suppression, regulation and control. They are, in short, socialists and communists. Citizen journalists create a more libertarian environment, and may well be pushing more truth into the light than was the case for the traditional media outlets. Of course, many of the citizen-journalists will be characterized by their critics and detractors as anarchists.

    It seems Journalism professors and media moguls have somehow missed the point that journalism holds one simple, altruistic ideal: to report the news, rather than create it.

    Mike Masnick's article got it EXACTLY RIGHT.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Herb, Dec 16th, 2007 @ 3:27pm

    Re: Why not focus on doing a better job?

    Very well said and on target. I would like to respond to David Hazinski's statement "unfettered citizen journalism is too risky and that it needs to be regulated." Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

    If anyone needs to be regulated it's the professional journalist (notice I said "If." Personally I believe that constitutional freedom of the press needs to remain strictly "hands off" as far as the government is concerned.) With their livelihood and career advancement tied to the selling of stories there is significant temptation to sensationalize a story, stretch the truth and even to outright purposefully lie and steal from other writers. Consider the following:

    Stephen Glass - was an American reporter for The New Republic who was fired for fabricating articles, quotes, sources and events.

    Jayson Blair - a former New York Times reporter who was forced to resign from the newspaper in May 2003, after he was caught plagiarizing and fabricating elements of his stories. By 2000, his editors were rebuking Blair for the high error rate in his articles and his sloppy work habits.

    Janet Cooke - was an American journalist who became infamous when she won a Pulitzer Prize for a fabricated story that she wrote for The Washington Post. After the fabrication was discovered and admited Cooke resigned and returned the prize. She appeared on the Phil Donahue show in January 1982, and said that the high-pressure environment of the Washington Post had corrupted her judgment.

    While these are more famous incidents of jounalistic fraud, I suspect that these are only the tip of the iceberg and that many others continue undiscovered.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Overcast, Dec 16th, 2007 @ 3:46pm

    If anyone needs to be regulated it's the professional journalist (notice I said "If." Personally I believe that constitutional freedom of the press needs to remain strictly "hands off" as far as the government is concerned.) With their livelihood and career advancement tied to the selling of stories there is significant temptation to sensationalize a story, stretch the truth and even to outright purposefully lie and steal from other writers.

    Very true indeed. After all - when they are paid - there's a motive to 'go too far'. Those who aren't paid... well.. no real motive other than a possible agenda.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    JEFF, Dec 16th, 2007 @ 5:28pm

    More people are getting their news from internet sources. The major media companies are pretty P.O.ed about this as well as their sponsors that pay millions to advertise on the major networks. I am all for regulating our schools and Universities as well as the teachers and professors. I will never let any one tell me that I have to have a certificate from some good ole boys club in order to start a blog or report news on a web site. Whats next, will I have to get approval of some govt agency to start a web site? This idiot should be FIRED for teaching our future leaders this GARBAGE. Oh I forgot he can not be fired if he has enough senority. Maybe he should be transfered to Clown College.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2007 @ 7:48pm

    Re: Re:

    citizen journalists are doing for free what professional journalists have been payed for all their lives. The pros fear being put out of work; outsourced, in effect, for being obsolete.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Jay, writer MemberSpeed.com, Dec 16th, 2007 @ 8:20pm

    Gone are the days of mass society theories. While citizen journalism may not be always be a reliable source of news, the thought of gatekeeping by the media companies absolutely appalls me. In this light, it just seems like they're trying to expand their network or something. I really like the way you put everything into perspective here. And I really don't like the idea of "certificates" being handed out. On the side of the masses, we can think for ourselves. Whatever news we choose to digest is our choice. While we have our credible and trusted news sources, we also want to hear about an issue or an incident from other sources. Or else, we'll be stuck in a society where all is trained to simply accept whatever information is given them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Paul, Dec 16th, 2007 @ 10:49pm

    Did we read the same op-ed piece??

    What Hazinski's actually says, versus the writeup above and the headline some copy-editor stuck on the piece, is that news organizations should fact-check "citizen-contributed information" before adding it to their own stories. BFD!

    He also calls for J-schools to give ethics training and certificates, but there's nothing in the piece that says those certificates should be required before posting on the web.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    tao, Dec 17th, 2007 @ 8:58am

    Re: Regulate Professors

    Irony. One has to love it... or weep.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    King George, Dec 17th, 2007 @ 10:27am

    Let them eat cake, just don't let them write.

    By George 'ol chap. I rather think that control of all citizen writers would have been a Jolly grand idea back in 1774. I so wish I would have thought of that!
    King George

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This