Journalism — not just for the ‘professionals’ any longer. Was it ever?

By Mick Gregory

Instead of a lecture from a biased liberal reporter who dropped out of college, citizen journalists create conversation. How often have you heard liberals attacking Dr Laura Schlessinger‘s credintials?

How about the credentials of your everyday journalist hack?

Peter Jennings didn’t go to college. Come to think of it, how about Dan Rather? I believe he attended Sam Houston State. Not much bragging about that.

Those are liberals, that’s why you don’t hear about their lack of education.

Michael Savage has multiple degrees including a doctorate. Bill O’Reilly has a BA and Master’s Degree. You don’t read much about that in the mainstream media.

Journalism is no longer a career left just to the “professionals,” author and media entrepreneur Dan Gillmor said Tuesday at ASU.

Gillmor, founder of “the Gillmor Gang” and the Citizen Media Law Project with Harvard University and the University of California-Berkeley, said journalism is shifting as digital technology allows readers to become spot-news reporters.

“We can all be media creators now,” Gillmor said. “With everyone walking around with a digital camera in their cell phone, it changes things.”

He pointed to the recent bridge collapse in Minnesota for an example.

Gillmor said many people fled the scene in the moments after the collapse Aug. 2. But others pulled out their cell phone cameras and ran toward the catastrophe to take pictures.

“That person did what I like to call a random act of journalism,” Gillmor said. “Professional journalists or not, all of us will have a chance to do these random acts at some point.”

He said digital technology has empowered citizens to document some of the most historic events in recent years. Flight passengers on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, made phone calls and sent text messages minutes before crashing in the World Trade Center.

“Just imagine if they had the technology to send video from inside the plane,” Gillmor said.

He also said the authentic sound of gunshots fired on the Virginia Tech campus were captured by a student recording with a cell phone.

“The change in media is fast and amazing,” Gillmor said.
Should citizens sit on their hands and wait for the “professional journalistis?”

He said the process and order of print journalism has already changed. Newspapers that used to hit driveways once a day now publish minute-by-minute reports online. And he said citizen or community journalists are furthering this change, with major contributions.

Gillmor defines citizen journalists as everyday people who serve as their own reporters and contribute to traditional news by setting up Web sites and capturing videos or pictures of newsworthy events.

The emergence of citizen media is transforming news from lecture to conversation, Gillmor said. Internet, cell phones, digital cameras and immediate access to computerized tools are transforming how, and by whom, news is made and consumed.

“The question we should be asking is not so much who is the journalist anymore, but more so, what is journalism?” Gillmor said.

Many of us are questioning why journalists are considered professionals? Are bus drivers and garbage collectors professionals?

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3 thoughts on “Journalism — not just for the ‘professionals’ any longer. Was it ever?

  1. Those who control the past control the future. Those who control the present control the past.- George Orwell

    The past, present and future have been controlled by the liberal media. Not any more with citizen journalists.

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