BBC: What Do We Need Professional Reporters For?
Bill Thompson’s a BBC writer who actually seems to, as they say, “get it:” Going local across the globe.
(I nearly broke out the flying pig for this one.)
The students in my online journalism class at City University this year must be wondering whether they have made the right choice.
Getting a professional qualification in journalism, with its shorthand classes, endless lectures on ethics and numerous assignments designed to hone students’ reporting skills, may well look like too much effort in the world of citizen journalism.
After all if bloggers like web designer Charles Johnson can expose the faked Bush military memos and show how Reuters was fooled by Adnan Hajj’s photoshopped view of a burning Beirut, what do we need professional reporters for? …
Unfortunately for those already working as journalists, many readers and viewers seem to feel the same way about the need for professional journalists. The rapid growth of citizen journalism seems less a sign of the emergence of a vibrant new area of online newsgathering and reporting than a symptom of the decline of existing forms of news journalism.
It points to a career-threatening loss of trust in what people see on their TV screens or read in the daily papers as they become what citizen journalist advocate Dan Gillmor calls ‘the former audience’.
This could be seen as a counsel of despair, but I do not think we should give up hope yet. If we are willing to look closely at what the internet is doing to the practice of journalism then we could do a lot to regain this trust and re-establish a connection with readers and viewers.
Yes, well. We’ll see about that, won’t we?