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Journalist an earned accolade

Note: In response to Dave Winer and Jay Rosen, BloggerCon "What is a Journalist:

> Winer: We don't yet have a proposal for a definition of journalism. I took five deep breaths and wrote this: > "An independent view of a series of events."

I didn't define journalism on Rosen's blog, I explained its purpose: "The purpose of journalism is to refine our mental map of reality."

For more than a generation the field has been abused, first by those who would presume to be "objective" and then by others who would practice "public" or advocacy journalism from within the scene.

I can't read "Time" or "Newsweek" but I devour the Economist because it has clarity, breadth, depth, and a voice. Rather than "objective" they try to be thorough, fair, and useful. They write beautifully and put what they report in context. ("A said this. B said that, but remember last year B said something else.") They appreciate that any editing requires judgment and where they stand and why is obvious but not overwhelming.

Contrast that with the "care less" and self-indulgent -- whether blogs or media. Dave, your intuition is correct that "journalism" has many flavors, often confused. Many who wish to wear the title are commentators, charlatans, editorial writers, diarists, trolls, aggregators, shills, advocates, the ignorant, the expert and the myopic.

I'm not sure "journalist" is an assumed title. I wonder if it is an earned accolade.

    Posted on Dave Winer's BloggerCon blog by Stephen Waters - 4/6/04; 9:15:51 PM


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