Ron Steinman’s strong stand against citizen journalism

Ron Steinman, NBC’s Saigon bureau chief during the Vietnam War, the author of two books on the war, and now executive editor of The Digital Journalist, takes an unusually strong–some might say aggressively dismissive–stand against the rise of citizen journalism, particularly as use of volunteer reporters displaces professionals. “It is important that we defeat what appears to be a land grab by citizen journalists and blind accountants,” Steinman writes, “or what they really are: untutored amateurs, the almost journalists of our modern age.”

The gathering and presentation of news cannot live on desire alone. It cannot go forward without money and lots of it. It takes time and dedication to keep people informed. Journalists need training to succeed. Without training, and the high standards that training brings, something that the supporters of citizen journalism decry as hoary, there would be no journalism at all. In the end, someone has to pay the professionals for the work they do.

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For all the hype, using citizen journalists is an excuse by the bean counters at publications to lower costs. By putting costs over content, the accountants lower standards. This saves an enormous amount of money it would have to spend on those who normally collect news. In reality, accountants really do not know better.

Read and comment on the full post at The Digital Journalist.

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