It seems that anyone nowadays can be his or her own journalist. What with modern technology and everyone seemingly wanting their five minutes of fame. Video and camera phones, blogs and reality shows that seem to dictate what the current “events” and trends are.
Although a majority of news media is still run by professional journalists, “citizen journalism” is quickly growing and it doesn’t seem to look like it will stop anytime soon. It’s only sensible to include it as a subcategory of journalism.
However, is it fair to the professional journalists who actually spend time going to college to learn about writing style? Ethics? Media technology? Journalists, especially in print, have already had to expand their skills in the field with becoming their own photographer, videographer and web-master. But to be competing with people who have no sense of any journalistic knowledge, especially to those who don’t put their hearts into the occupation in the first place. Well you can imagine how disheartening that can be.
In order for the professionals to keep their career, they must be willing to sacrifice some of what they learned in journalism school. More than likely, some of what was learned is potentially out of date in current media, seeing as how professional newspapers are going down and online news has gone up. This phenomenon has contributed to an even riskier business for active journalists: more and more readers are shifting over to blogs and short opinions.
Now we have “bloggers” and regular contributors who keep online news sites active. Do these people have Journalism degrees or have any experience in the field? I highly doubt that all of them do, but many of them have a regular and growing number of readers.
Granted, there have been many people who happened to be at the right place at the time who’ve been able to capture newsworthy events. If it weren’t for those bystanders videotaping and photographing when the World Trade Center collapsed during 9/11, many print, broadcast and online news medias would have never gotten as good footages.
Even so, despite how unfair it clearly is to all the dedicated journalists, who I’m sure are also having to work on the edge of their seat with many newspapers cutting their staff down, the professionals have competition. As with the times changing, so is the news media. Professional journalists will have to evolve even further to stay in the race.