13 December 2007

Educating Hazinski ...

Unfettered 'citizen journalism' too risky

While ["citizen journalism"] has its place, the reality is it really isn't journalism at all, and it opens up information flow to the strong probability of fraud and abuse. The news industry should find some way to monitor and regulate this new trend....

Advocates argue that the acts of collecting and distributing makes these people "journalists." This is like saying someone who carries a scalpel is a "citizen surgeon" or someone who can read a law book is a "citizen lawyer."
Ex-NBC correspondent to citizen journos: "You're not worthy"
Hazinski is simply extolling an extreme position that citizen-journalism advocates wouldn't take, attributing it to them (without even one source), and debunking it. There's a name for that. It's "disinformation."
Should News Orgs "Regulate" Citizen Journalism?
I think it's painfully obvious that a news organization needs to treat citizen journalism in the way it should treat its own journalism--with all the care that the ethical practice of the craft demands.
News round-up: Would you go to a 'citizen brain surgeon'? (10 June 2005)
[Simon Bucks] asked the audience what they'd decide to do if they needed a brain tumour removed: would they go to a professional brian surgeon, or a citizen brain surgeon? A compelling analogy, but it really is quite unsound for a number of reasons.
Blue Sky thinking By Simon Bucks (25 May 2007)
The cultural issue is altogether tougher, not just for Sky News, but for all news organisations. Most journalists have grown up with the idea that we tell people the news which we think they should be told.

Confession time: I was guilty too. I once argued that you wouldn’t trust a citizen journalist any more than a citizen heart surgeon. It was a paternalistic and sermonising approach that most of us shared, but it won’t do any more.
The Struggle Against Forgetting (January/February 1996)
Journalism can be practiced virtually anywhere and under almost any circumstances. Just as medicine, for example, can be practiced in enormous clinics organized like corporations or in one-person offices, journalism can be practiced in multinational conglomerates or by isolated free-lancers. Just as medicine can be practiced with technologies as advanced as magnetic image resonating machines or as primitive as an ear that hears complaints and an eye that observes symptoms, so journalism can be practiced with satellites or script. The practice does not depend on the technology or bureaucracy. It depends on the practitioner mastering a body of skill and exercising it to some worthwhile purpose.

It's always interesting, on one hand, to hear journalists (or academics who teach journalism) liken journalism to brain surgery and then, on the other, hear claims that journalists can accurately report on what others do because ... well, what others do is not brain surgery.

Andy Cline has a good post on the subject: How to Study Journalism

No comments: