Where USF faculty, students and graduates are invited to talk about journalism and its problems and opportunities. This blog is not affiliated with the University of San Francisco, nor is the university responsible for any of the opinions expressed herein -- though it is certainly responsible for the people who entertain those opinions, having educated them. They make us proud.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Les Shu Doesn't Think Bloggers are Journalists
So, are you still qualified to be a journalist if you didn't study journalism? I ask because an old coworker of mine and I were wondering about it. He studied journalism at Ohio State and does the whole magazine editing thing, but he doesn't consider himself a journalist. He's an editor, he says.
So what exactly constitutes a journalist? Are these fly-by-night bloggers considered journalist? I sure hope not, but they are reporting news, many of them.
I think that the designation of journalist lacks significant meaning ... unless we are talking about legal protections. There's reporting, and there's analysis, and there's opinion writing -- which often fall far short of analysis. There are assignment editors, and there are line editors. They both work with real live people. There are "wire" editors.
Thus: Bloggers are seldom reporters, sometimes makers of analysis, rather more often makers of opinion. Many are wire editors in the sense that they choose what to link to. But the content of what they are linked to is characterized beforehand, and not in a neutral way.
Training helps, whether you acquire it at a journalism school or on the job, not just because you do the work under supervision but because you are working with pros, and there is a kind of osmosis going on. But you can learn on your own, though not simply by doing. You need to read "journalism" to do "journalism."
What would you add? What would you retort?