I love this deadly serious look at citizen journalism from the Guardian…partly I think because it hits a little too close to home for this just started student journo.
Partly because the points it raises about citizen journalists perhaps being more likely to write stories about things which effect them in personal ways seem to me to be a defense of the idea that ‘trained’ journalists do not.
And while it may be true that a ‘trained’ journalist is less likely to write about what is happening to their mum (you really do need to read the link to keep up here), I just don’t buy journalism training turning us all into objective news reporters, n’er a bias to be found, for whom what we choose to call news, what we choose to gather as news, which parts we choose to write about as news, spring neutral and completely formed, post Journalism Diploma into the fount of Fairfax.
It seems to me the very idea that journalism training teaches objectivity is a dangerous nonsense. In our journalism class – diverse in terms of age, gender, race/ethnicity and life experiences – the ways we approach our stories are clearly different. This is a rich and wonderful thing – the fact that 25 people will have 25 different ways of analysing, thinking, focusing attention, writing about the key issues. I’m not interested in reading analysis which does not acknowledge it’s own perspective, which pretends a kind of ‘one truth’. What I am interested in is reading well-argued, evidence based analysis which makes me rethink my assumptions/perspective/views because it reminds me they are partial.
While this isn’t the domain of ‘news’ – to analyse and discuss – it should be the domain of good, informative journalism.
So teasing citizen journos for lack of objectivity compared to real journos – no. Acknowledging real journos come from partial perspectives too – and attempting to be fair and balanced while doing so – absolutely.