Carlotta Gall has a detailed story about the Taliban resurgence on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan on page 1 of The Times today. The article continues on page 12 with the above title in a box. Gall explains in the first person how she and her photographer, Akhtar Soomro, were physically harmed, stolen from and detained by “plainclothesmen” who had been following them. As if that wasn’t horrifying enough, she said they learned that data had been copied from their seized computers, notebooks and phones. This is a dangerous field- journalism. I remember watching Calvin Skaggs documentary, “Democracy on Deadline: The Global Struggle for an Independent Press,” and being inspired and GRATEFUL that Gall had so much gumption. It’s clear to me how important it is that people like her exist, and can withstand 2 punches in the face, and then write about it. I can only hope that one day i’ll be able to say the same thing about myself and my fellow classmates.

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if this isn’t an awesome statement, then i don’t know what is:

“…at a time of upheaval and shift, to be in the beginning of something is to have a privileged seat at the table of freedom.”

spoken like a true communicator. jay rosen, the renowned media theorist/critic/educator spoke to the CUNY grad. school of journalism’s inaugural class on thursday. his visit was inspiring, shocking and informative.

i have been a fan on rosen’s since my undergrad days at hampshire college. i studied his work closely (as it was related to my focus on media studies and “infotainment”) and was particularly interested in “public journalism.” his new project, newassignment.net, has a premise that is similar to that of public journalism. get the people/readers/consumers involved in the production of news, make them want it and care about it. newassignment.net is for the future, that’s the twist. it lives on the internet, and will help journalists get paid online.

i hope that rosen’s project exceeds all expectations. the idea puts the power in the hands of the public, which in this day and age is seemingly what the masses want. choice! i’m glad that rosen has such a vision though, the role of the editor and of course the “director of participation, ” as he refers to it, will help with quality control. the idea of Pro-Am (professionals and amateurs) is brilliant, but there must be some oversight.

open-source reporting….gather the experts, the everyday folk, the volunteers…give them tasks, create what others haven’t created before…then “you’re cooking.”

blog=journalism?

October 8, 2006

today’s assignment was to find four blog posts that we considered “good” journalism. while i believe in online/new media and appreciate the new forms of storytelling, i’m having trouble identifying stories as “journalism.” perhaps my definition is too broad, or maybe blogs are not “journalism” at all.

so, what is journalism? could it be just the simple dissemination of information? are analysis and crafty writing essential? it’s complicated.

i think blogs can be just as effective as traditional media forms. but, because they follow different models of storytelling, they need to have a name that’s all their own.

journalists should be more than just information providers. they should cover stories that span the spectrum, not just those they know the most about. they should write stories without using sensational tactics and language. and above all else, they should be interested in achieving a higher goal. it’s not enough to just inform, you have to give readers, viewers, whatever a higher understanding. i don’t believe that true journalists should just “say it as it is” and not provide context and thoughtful analysis. i also don’t think, to use the example from class on thursday, that a person who writes about one issue, product or trend for a specific population, is a journalist. that person is an expert and is certainly providing a positive public service (he wrote about treo’s and their good and bad attributes, developments, etc.), but they cannot wear the badge of journalist in my book.

i have not named any specific blogs as journalism, but i do enjoy the stories from certain sites. they are generally commentary sites, which says a lot about the blogosphere. it’s a place where many go to seek out a certain type of information or viewpoint.

they are, to name a few: thehuffingtonpost.com, thenation.com, buzzmachine.com, tompaine.commonsense .

today’s nytimes has an article by charlie leduff, part of his american album series. the story he tells is so poignant and the subjects trust him to no end, it’s amazing. i hope to one day have people share with me what matters to them most, and trust that i will tell it how it is. the article is well written and there is also a link to a video made for the story. the addition of the video is necessary, we see the context from which the quotes were taken for the article and also the faces and the long pauses that the subjects took before speaking. this is a great example of excellent journalism; telling the stories of others unknown and also relating them to real life, large scale issues.