The new journalists

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The definition of journalist has changed and the news industry needs to shape up or get shipped out.

That is one of the reflections that were made by the media roundtable discussion at DC Week’s 140 Conference.

Citizen journalism is changing the way news is gathered and newsrooms can no longer claim to be the sole resource for news.

“You are a professional if you are getting paid,” David Johnson of American University said.  “It’s up to the crowd to determine if you are a journalist or not.”

Tools such as Twitter has been changing way the news is created and how news operations incorporate citizen journalism into their news reports.

“The fact is we are really in the wild wild west of how us in the mainstream media are going to incorporate [citizen journalism] into our news gathering,” Mark Pretson of CNN said.

But not everyone accepts citizen journalists or bloggers into the newsroom fold. It has spurred competition in an industry that would otherwise benefit from closer collaboration.

“Most [citizen journalists] understand that there is a role for professional journalist in this environment,” Jim Brady creator of said. “I think the sooner that the professional side of equation starts embracing the fact the the citizen journalists are here to stay, as well, the quicker this problem will get solved.”

The new journalists from Glenn Luther on Vimeo.


The key to effective communication online is to use the Internet to connect with your audience, not just to distribute your content in new ways.

“We’ve been socializing on the Internet as soon as it was created,” Johnson said. “It is what it was created for: for collaboration, socialization. It’s not a broadcast platform it’s a

collaboration platform.”

Johnson said newspapers can no longer treat bloggers and citizen journalists as if their voice has no value.

“If journalists treated their audience with the same regard that they treated their sources, things would be very different in the journalism sphere today,” Johnson said.

Still even the biggest names in journalism struggle to accept to the looming blogosphere as a credible voice.

“I know in the journalism business, I still hear a lot of, and I just heard this the other day, the New York Time reporters went off on bloggers as being in their basement with pajamas,” Brady said.  “If we cannot get rid of of that stereotype at some point we will be in a lot of trouble.”



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