what do you do when you’re told it’s tough out there? bitch and moan?

September 25, 2006

wow. while reading my fellow soon-to-be “journalists” blog posts about the guests in class on thursday i felt: enthusiastic, depressed, manic, confused and exhausted. many people were taking the position of “if this guy dan can’t get a job after all his accomplishments than how can i?” i feel it’s utterly pointless to think like that. yes, the media market is shifting and jobs are disappearing but what i’m more worried about is how this change affects us as readers/viewers/whatever. don’t get me wrong, i want a stable job and money to live comfortably and bring up children, etc., but the real underlying issue for me is, well, what does all this change do for the public? papers shrinking, imporant issues left uncovered, opinion centric blogging…this is the stuff that makes my brain explode. so, what do we do? we have to practice good, true, journalism. i’m sure everyone will jump on me and say “well, what’s that?” but i think it’s pretty clear. information that does not distort the facts is journalism. what else? information that gives the reader a chance to make up their mind is journalim. stories persuading you to think one way or another is NOT journalism. i think there is a place in the future “market” for this kind of stuff. interactive blogs that give ultimate power and choice to the reader is an interesting technology, and it many ways it’s great. but i think the hunger for straight stories not tampered with by others will never die out. whether you read the stuff online or on paper…

one thing that dan spoke about that was interesting to me was the whole idea of not being as strict with online journalism. he said you could always go back and fix errors, and you knew that readers would maybe tell you to fix it. while my first impression was to think “what a slacker! this attitude is exactly what is bringing down the quality of news, and beyond that, online news: the future!” but then i thought more and the fact that readers play a role in “fact checking” is actually pretty awesome. however, the journalists are supposed to be the experts, they should know the stuff they write and no one should have to fix it for them. or worse yet: what if no one who reads the blog or web article knows the info is incorrect? people will be misinformed.

what do i think overall? i believe that we, as people who want to tell stories and help others to see beyond their own personal world, need to get the basics, learn the technolgies, and above all else, strive to serve the public good. i think i speak for everyone when i say that we are sorely needed.

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3 Responses to “what do you do when you’re told it’s tough out there? bitch and moan?”

  1. I like most of what you have to say, Georgia, but I do have a couple of bones to pick.

    “information that gives the reader a chance to make up their mind is journalim. stories persuading you to think one way or another is NOT journalism.”

    I think your brush is a bit too broad. Uncovering and using facts about an issue to bring readers to a logical conclusion, and even stories choice itself is form of persuasion. So that last sentence might be a little harsh. Especially with those caps.

    “what if no one who reads the blog or web article knows the info is incorrect? people will be misinformed.”

    As Jarvis or Dan Gilmour will tell you, when journalism becomes a conversation with your audience, you work will become far more factual than it can ever be on your own. The audience becomes fact checker and believe me, they won’t let you get away with anything.

    I mean if your blog has a handful of readers, sure things might slip through the cracks. But then who cares? You’re misinforming your friends. But if you have thousands of readers, you have a fact-checking department larger than any publication, and experts in a wide range of fields.

    This is the kind of thing that makes open source software so great. It’s amazing that it works so well for journalism too.

  2. “but i think the hunger for straight stories not tampered with by others will never die out. whether you read the stuff online or on paper…”

    No disagreement with that, Georgia.

    But as the skills for storytelling are devalued [gratis citizen journalists’ coverage, free internships, et al] it is still a valid question to ask whether we should pay for and stay at CUNYGSJ.

  3. Georgia,
    I’ll embroider your words on a flag and salute.
    There is a role for leadership in the midst of change and that’s what I hear you taking.
    j

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