YouTube has organized a library of how-to videos for citizen journalists. Much of it won’t be relevant to the vast majority of citizen journalists. But the talent that is now spending time helping ordinary folks to create content is amazing and impressive. I still talk to journalists almost every day who continue to resent the infiltration of their work by “ordinary people.”
In fact, I met this morning with 2 individuals who have been stymied in their efforts to cultivate citizen journalism by “old school” journalists who can, collectively, green-light or red-light their work — and who resent this intrusion by the untrained and unindoctrinated.
These old dogs are already finding themselves on the wrong side of history.
Journalism IS and always has been the work of ordinary people; every journalist is merely a proxy for a larger number of ordinary people. When the local investigative TV reporter asks a zinger to the director of the dysfunctional city water department, that reporter isn’t there because of some special privilege or status; he’s there because it would be impractical to open the doors to anyone and everyone who questioned the director’s management. It’s easy to forget this in the day-to-day melee. But it’s still the truth.
More than that, though, the economics of media essentially mandates the growth of citizen journalism. That Nicholas Kristoff, Bob Woodward and the Pulitzer Center (to name a few), are open to this fact is refreshing to me, and is an encouraging sign that the moribund state of the news is beginning to evolve.