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Gatekeepers

An editorial writer at something called the Digital Journalist has had enough of all these so-called “citizen” journalists.

Citizen journalist is a misnomer. There is no such thing. There are citizens and there are journalists. Everybody can be one of the former, but to be called a journalist means that you are a professional. Either you have been schooled in journalism, or you have “paid your dues,” rising slowly through the ranks.

So, what does this person (writing anonymously – real brave journalism there) believe should qualify someone to wear the high title of journalist?cat.gif

Why, the blessing of those already admitted to the club, of course.

Professional visual journalists cover fires, floods, crime, the legislature and the White House every day. There is either a fire line or police line, or security, or the Secret Service who allow them to pass upon displaying credentials vetted by the departments or agencies concerned. In New York City, for example, working on a committee of the NYPD and NYFD, news organizations every year fill out applications for Working Press cards. A senior visual journalist appointed by the New York Press Photographers Association passes on those applications.

It would be much easier to take this person seriously if the people calling themselves journalists (especially on the talking heads channels) actually followed the kind of professional standards alluded to in this article.

Simple fact checking – a process being assumed by citizen journalists since many of the real ones don’t bother – would be a good start.

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2 Comments

  1. Thank you! I can’t even watch “news” on television anymore.

  2. Dave

    The article starts out kind of intense, but it turns out the author just buried the lede…it’s not that he wants to abolish “Citizen Journalists”, it’s that he wants to reserve the word “journalist” to be trained, full-time professionals.

    I’m wondering if it’s supposed to be tongue in cheek, because burying the lede, having a misleading headline, and getting caught up in semantics are the type of unprofessional writing that professional journalists would protect us from…right?

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