Making the rare stray off topic …
University of Georgia students and graduates should be proud of Associate Professor David Hazinski’s laughable commentary in the AJC last week. Apparently, he does not like the "citizen journalism" in use today –
The premise of citizen journalism is that regular people can now collect information and pictures with video cameras and cellphones, and distribute words and images over the Internet. Advocates argue that the acts of collecting and distributing makes these people "journalists." This is like saying someone who carries a scalpel is a "citizen surgeon" or someone who can read a law book is a "citizen lawyer." Tools are merely that. Education, skill and standards are really what make people into trusted professionals. Information without journalistic standards is called gossip.
He is not commenting on quality and reminding people to be careful in what they read, this gem of a "professor" wants some form of "certification" or regulation –
Supporters of "citizen journalism" argue it provides independent, accurate, reliable information that the traditional media don’t provide. While it has its place, the reality is it really isn’t journalism at all, and it opens up information flow to the strong probability of fraud and abuse. The news industry should find some way to monitor and regulate this new trend….
Having just anyone produce widely distributed stories without control can have the reverse effect from what advocates intend. …
Journalism schools such as mine at the University of Georgia should create mini-courses to certify citizen journalists in proper ethics and procedures, much as volunteer teachers, paramedics and sheriff’s auxiliaries are trained and certified.
Journalists generally don’t like any kind of standards or regulation. Many argue that standards could infringe on freedom of the press and journalism shouldn’t be regulated.
But we have already seen the line between news and entertainment blur enough to destroy significant credibility. Continuing to do nothing as information flow changes will further erode it. Journalism organizations who choose to do nothing may soon find the line between professional and citizen journalism gone as well as the trust of their audiences.
There you have it! If you don’t agree with the content that is flowing around out there, just come up with a way to regulate or control it. Perhaps protecting a few jobs or a journalism school, or a professorship, is worth trying to shoot down one of the most basic and revered principles of the profession. Perhaps this particular school should be more concerned about the quality of instructors they hire.