I was watching CNN the other day and an assortment of journalists was holding a press conference. Side thought, if the journalists are holding the press conference, then who was covering it? Anyways, the topic was amateur journalism versus professional journalism. These professional journalists were primarily bashing the world wide web’s near infinite assortment of online bloggers that consider themselves to be journalists.
I listened with interest for a while in interest, and at first I was slightly irritated at them attacking the world wide web as a news source. My primary turn off was the fact that these journalists said that there was no way that a person doing it in their free time could possibly gather as much accurate information as someone who is paid to do so for a living. This irritated me as I believe that someone can do something far better if there are doing it because of genuine interest and passion or because they were being paid. I initially thought that these journalists were complaining that their job market was disappearing and they may have to go seek other means of employment.
The more I listened to these journalists, the more I saw that loosing pay wasn’t their entire point; I refuse to believe that it wasn’t at least part of it. The journalists started to discuss how much time they spend building a foundation of resources, leads, and verification points on top of the fact that someone else goes behind them and rechecks these stories for credible sources and accuracy. They mentioned that only a full time journalist has the time to invest into a story in order to ensure that they exhaust all resources available before actually writing the story.
I feel that I agree with these individuals that were telling their story and presenting the issue of reliable journalism. I also agree that amateur journalists are equally important. Every newspaper has its own vendetta. Every person with an urge to write about something also has their own vendetta. So how do we sift through the corporate and individual vendettas? We utilize both resources. I generally use professional news outlets as my primary door into the topics of what’s going on in the world today. When I find a story that intrigues me or covers a topic that I have interest in, then I google or bing it. I am more wary of online bloggers than I am of large media outlets because there is no one editing the bloggers. A blogger can blatantly write that I am a hermaphrodite, and there’s no editor sitting their asking what piece of medical evidence there is to support such a claim; I am not one, it is simply an example.
We have to learn to be speculative of both sources as we look for the truth in things. Don’t just accept that XYZ media mogel says it so it’s true and there’s no other facts that are relevant, and don’t accept that what the dude sitting as his laptop at Starbucks is typing either. I do back these journalists and agree that it would be a sad day if professional journalism ceased to be a profession in this upcoming economy as we do need someone that will research a topic for 60+ hours in one week.
KevinKMJr is a guest writer on projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.