Sunday, October 16, 2005


Oct. 18 Assignment

1.) I definitely do not think it is a good idea for Yahoo to put news stories and blogs side by side. I think that this will have a devastating effect on professional journalists. When I look for news I want something credible, not someone's opinion that they decided to post on their blog. I understand that there are citizen journalists with talent and those who use credible sources; however there are so many more that do not. I agree with Robert Thompson when he says that there must be a distinction between professional journalism and professional commentary.

The article says that Yahoo will keep the sources separate by having a second level news site that includes blogs and commentaries. I think that this will work for now, but I wonder for how long this will last. I think that this is the beginning of the end for many journalists. I predict in five years people will do a search on Yahoo and find mostly blogs and commentary from citizen journalists.

I can't help but wonder where the future of journalism is going. Why are students like me studying journalism when the public eventually will not be able to tell the difference between citizen and professional?

Jeff Jarvis is wrong when he says,if you inform the public, you are committing an act of journalism.The public has a tough enough job of determining if something is biased without citizens informing the public. I mean you don't see people performing medical procedures ands taking care of patients because they feel like helping the public. I understand that there is a difference between the two however; I think that people should have training and knowledge in something before they inform the public. I definitely believe that there is a shared set of professional standards or how else would anyone be able to find credible news.

As the future of online journalism continues to change, I believe that commentary and actual news should always have a distinction whatever it may be.

2.) I think Ruggerio is being rather vague. The real question is what is the definition of media these days? If it is any group of journalists then media is not a corporate possession. Bloggers and citizen journalists are participating in media and not only are they an audience but they are also a public. In other countries citizen journalism is categorized side by side with professional journalism.

When Ruggerio says that an audience is passive and a public is participatory, I think that perhaps in the past, he may have been correct. However, in the changing world of journalism and the media this statement is no longer accuate. Those who once absorbed the news and were part of the passive audience are now those who are a part of the participatory public.

I that the defintion of media has already changed to include particaption by the public. This doesn't neccesarly have to be a bad thing, as long as the public or citizen journalists know the role they play. I think that this role should not have an effect on the media that is providing us with news.

3.) Right now I don’t think blogs are bad for mainstream journalism however I do think that they are heading in that direction. For example, Yahoo putting news stories side by side with blogs will not be good for mainstream journalism. Critics say that bloggers will never cover certain local topics that mainstream journalists do because they aren’t getting paid and they simply don’t have the time. I say how can we be so sure of this.

Just a few years ago we would never have imagined that blogging would grow to what it has become today. Other critics say that people don’t blog about things that impact their lives in real ways. I find this really hard to believe because you can basically find a blog about anything you want today. As blogging continues to grow and change, what says that topics like local neighborhood construction and the city budget won’t be things that people post blogs about?

People that say blogs will never compete with mainstream journalism are underestimating the power that bloggers have. People express their opinions on things that are important to them and with the number of blogs that are already out there, it’s pretty easy to see that different things are important to different people.

I really think that blogging will continue to become a medium for people to support things that stand for and believe in. I would compare it to donating to a campaign for an election. If someone is willing to donate money for a cause they believe in, why not pay money to post a blog that has your opinion it in while thousands of people read it?

4.)Citizen journalism is shaping the future of what journalism is becoming and continues to become. Because of this reason it must become worthy of disseminating the news. Clearly, it is not a joke and quickly becoming a mainstream thing. Ohmynews has all kinds of writers from professional staffers to people with no background at all. As a result, readers will have to absorb things and analyze things themselves. This is a good thing because people can’t believe everything they read, however this will change how many people view journalists.

I believe that there should still be a distinction between citizen and professional journalism but that line will continue to blur as even professionals begin to post their opinions in things like Ohmynews. In order for citizen journalism to work, there needs to be some sort classifying system that allows readers to recognize what and whose opinion they are reading. People should have the right to express their opinions and publish them; however people also have the right to credible unbiased news.

I personally believe that no matter the medium, journalists have the job to inform the public. This news has to have the truth and I think real unbiased news lets readers come about their own personal opinion. Ohmynews can be subjective and have lots of emotion but it can also be knowledgeable. Knowledgeable is the key word and I really think that there will always be citizens who choose not to publish their opinions and look to the professionals for the news.

5.) If I were to post a blog it would be about things that are important to me personally. I would talk about things that happen in my everyday life that help me form opinions that I have about certain things. It would be light-hearted and not inform the public on news. I think that people would have lots of other sources to find this material besides my blog. I would probably talk about my diet, working out, shopping, and my relationship. The only people that would want to read it would be people that are close to me. I would leave “informing the public” to my day job.

But does a degree make you a journalist? Does it take a person with a degree to perform an act of journalism?
I know good reporters who did not get that degree. And I saw many people who were not professional jouranlists who reported amazingly during, say, the tsunami.
If you try to say that only people with some form of certification can be journalists and do journalism then you are in danger of licensing journalism ... which means that authorities could also pull licenses.
And in an age when newspapers are losing tremendous revenue, we need to open up our sources of information -- to include those who may not be professional or trained journalists but who can share valuable information.
If we limit the definition of journalism and how it serves the public too severely, then we risk beding left behind as others serve better, eh?
I definitely believe that there is a shared set of professional standards or how else would anyone be able to find credible news

Whether the information comes from a blog, a television station, the radio, or a newspaper those standards don't change. People develop a level of trust with an information outlet based upon their experience with it.

Regardless of the source, if it reports in a factual, mistake free, manner and acknowledges and corrects mistakes as they occur in a transparent manner, its audience will come to trust it.

If, on the other hand, it models itself after the examples of CBS News or the NY Times then its veracity will long be questioned.
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"Why are students like me studying journalism when the public eventually will not be able to tell the difference between citizen and professional?"

What do you mean, "eventually"? That's the case right now. If Dan Rather was a "professional", his use of faked documents showed that "professionals" are no more reliable than "citizens". Most people are beginning to realize much of what is presented is at best slanted.

"The public has a tough enough job of determining if something is biased without citizens informing the public."

This makes no sense, because citizens are part of the public. Those citizens have brilliantly exposed the bias that exists.

"I definitely believe that there is a shared set of professional standards or how else would anyone be able to find credible news."

Your belief is touching, but in the wake of Dan Rather's performance, it's breathtakingly clueless.

Just do the basic hard work of reporting the facts. Make sure what's reported is accurate and complete. The bloggers you deprecate have risen to prominence on the media's own failures. Fix them, and everything's cool. Don't, and the reputation of legacy media will continue to decline no matter how much talk there is about "standards".
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