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In the Unverified Digital World, Are Journalists and Bloggers Equal? 156

oztechmuse (2323576) writes "As the source of news moves increasingly away from traditional channels to the millions of people carrying mobile phones and sharing commentary, photos and video on social networks, the distinction between journalists and bloggers has become increasingly blurred. Making sense of this type of information has been as much a challenge for journalists as it has bloggers. Journalists, like bloggers, have had to learn new skills in working in this environment. Highlighting this has been the release of the Verification Handbook which attempts to educate journalists in how to process user-generated content in the form of videos or images acknowledging that much of the reporting about situations, especially emergency ones, comes from the public. The techniques outlined are accessible to anyone reporting on a story, adding to the eroding gap between bloggers and journalists."
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In the Unverified Digital World, Are Journalists and Bloggers Equal?

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  • by Stolpskott ( 2422670 ) on Monday March 24, 2014 @10:17AM (#46563379)

    Journalists (as the world's professional content creators) versus Bloggers (the world's amateur - sometimes very much so - content creators) are similar in the same way that the guy hacking together application code in his bedroom in his spare time is the same as the salaried analyst programmer employed full time to do that.

    They both produce content, and the amateur may produce content which would be considered of an acceptable standard by the professional. But the average amateur produces content which is of a much lower standard than the average professional (no, I have no specific citation to prove that, other than my own experience of working with both types on projects).

  • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Monday March 24, 2014 @10:44AM (#46563579) Journal

    None of that precludes equal protection under the law. Everybody has the same rights as a journalist, or any other person. As such, we all have the right not to answer to any authority. Unfortunately the average person doesn't have the heavy weaponry needed to protect those rights.

  • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Monday March 24, 2014 @10:49AM (#46563627) Homepage Journal

    we should instead think in terms of how can we verify what they're worth?

    Agreed. I wrote this [] five years ago and mostly still agree with it:

    Whenever I've been interviewed for a newspaper, words and facts have been twisted and/or just gotten wrong. Whenever I read a popular press article in an area where I have in-depth knowledge, it's wrong, at least in the details.

    So, I just assume that's true all the time and go to specialists for real news reporting. I haven't checked, but I'd assume a place like Jane's would have a good article on this GPS thing.

    How about this business model: be a journalist who's a bona-fide expert on GPS. Write completely accurate, insightful, and helpful news articles on GPS happenings. Charge alot for them.

    The last part is the trick of course. But how many GPS journalists does the world need? No more than a handful. With the Internet it should be possible to greatly reduce the number of generalist journalists and start making 'newspapers' much better with experts. There's probably too much inertia at established papers but a disruptive model seems possible.

  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Monday March 24, 2014 @10:52AM (#46563669) Homepage

    No. People object to the idea that everything is a "narrative".

    Journalism is no longer about facts. It's just another form of fiction. This is what the fixation over "narrative" has done to journalism. Meanwhile, so-called professionals still attempt to pretend that they are objective.

    The old school party rags were at least honest about their bias.

  • by wiredlogic ( 135348 ) on Monday March 24, 2014 @11:18AM (#46563945)

    That just sets up a system where freedom can be revoked for anyone deemed to not have something worthwhile to say or who doesn't meet arbitrary professional standards. Everybody's "equal" but some are more equal than others isn't what the constitution was created for.

Variables don't; constants aren't.