“Citizen” Journalism

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Though it is sometimes heralded as the future of the media, citizen journalism has raised my hackles for a while now. One of the reasons is this: the term “citizen” implies that there is some kind of vetting process to being a journalist, like getting a law degree or a pilot’s license. In a sense, there is a vetting process– your job application. Though it’s sometimes recommended (especially if you want to jump off into a big market), getting a Master’s degree in journalism isn’t required. This blog (the irony does not escape me), agrees:

“Calling it “citizen journalism” and holding it to a lower standard is nothing but a cop-out. Journalism is not a licensed profession, like law or medicine. But it is similar in that it has some fundimental ethical principles that journalists follow:

–Don’t publish things that aren’t true.
–Check your sources. Check them twice. If you’re not sure, don’t publish. Being right is better than being first and wrong.”

And so on.

All you need to do is be a capable journalist. With that and some clips, you can become a professional. Even if your major was Cat Astrology. That’s not to say that all citizen journalists aren’t adept enough to get jobs. Some are retired journalists who just don’t have the time or patience for deadlines anymore. Many, however, are simply reporting things how they see it, which is not journalism.

I had a great distaste for most blogs for years, because of this very reason. If I wanted news, I would go to a trusted source. If I wanted someone’s opinion, I’d ask them myself. The opinions of untrained “citizen journalists,” however, were unsolicited, and I believe there’s a reason they don’t get paid. If it sounds like I’m being something of a hypocrite, then good– that means you’re reading closely. While there are some opinion pieces (such as this), I try to share interesting alternative media artifacts, rather than wax on and on about how they make me feel. My level of success varies.

Anyway, I’ve been pointing out what I don’t like about citizen journalism, but I haven’t given any attention to their positive effects. For that, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow. For now, the music.

Lady Gaga makes her triumphant return to this site in this first track.

The instrumental and vocals on this second track have both been played here before, but not together like this.

This final track features two British bands close to my heart, the Beatles and Oasis. As much as I’d hate to distort “Let it Be,” I feel like it should be sped up a bit. Other than that, I absolutely love it.

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