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Two Forms Of Journalism Essay

1837 words - 7 pages

Two Forms of Journalism

Recent events such as the tsunami disaster (where blogs helped in covering the enormous size of the story), the war in Iraq (where blogs help to present both opinions of all parties involved), the Dan Rather's scandal, a CBS Evening News anchor who reported as authentic a series of forged documents about George W. Bush (where blogs were highly instrumental in exposing him) have all contributed to the growing popularity of citizen journalism. So, why is there a recent growth in popularity of citizen journalism? Is it because of the scandals that has eroded the credibility of traditional journalism or is out of touch with today's media landscape? And does any of it eventually mean the decline of traditional journalism?

Citizen journalism, We media, Participatory media, or Citizen media, as it is also called, is the act of citizens playing an active role in the collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating of news and information. This is essentially the act of extending the "press" to what was traditionally called the audeience. Citizen journalism is one of key importance especially because it provides independent, wide-ranging, and to some extent relevant information which created a democratic environment as far as information goes.

Traditional journalism, on the other hand, whose "Super Concepts" are truthful, unbiased, full and fair makes it a style of writing that presents only bare facts of the stories and events it covers. However, journalism has time and time again bared witness to many scandals one of the most widely known of which is the infamous article "Jimmy's world" by Janet Cooke, a journalist for the Washington Post, in which she wrote about the profile of a life of an 8-year old heroin addict, which let readers to sympathize with Jimmy, the little boy. Cooke even went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for her article which was later revoked when evidence pointed out that that in fact there was there was no existence of such a boy. Another incidence includes the fabrication and plagiarisms in numerous articles by Jayson Blair, a Times reporter, who was exposed in 2003 after his article: "After effects: The Missing; Family Waits, Now Alone, for a Missing Soldier", in which he incorporated passages from an article that was published earlier in The San Antonio Express.

Traditional journalism has also prided itself as being an objective source of media, but pure objectivity is just a mirage. The limitation of human nature causes us to be biased, as we all have opinions which we directly or indirectly express in our communication, Added to this the financial, time and area space causes journalism to be subjective to a certain degree. But, another question arises, is subjectivity, an expression of one's opinions, necessarily bad? After all opinions give meaning to facts. One may argue that the presentation of opinions in the media would preclude people from making their own judgments,...

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