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Finally, something journalists and bloggers might agree on. “Citizen journalist” phrase should go 6/9/07

Posted by Steve Boriss in Citizen journalism.
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Martin Stabe finds and Jeff Jarvis (thankfully) translates an article in which German Newspaper Publishers Association President Helmut Heinen irritatingly claims that phrases like “citizen journalist” are fraudulent because regular citizens cannot produce real “journalism.” Well, if he’s going to be that way about it, I don’t really care for that phrase either. “Citizen journalist” implies that the truly legitimate position is “journalist” with the adjective “citizen” used as a qualifier to diminish status, as in Vice President, Lieutenant Colonel, or Assistant Professor. Come to think of it, “Citizen journalist” sounds like a phrase invented by a mainstream journalist — one who clings to the belief that, in the future, journalists will still hold the same, lofty status they enjoy today, but just with the additional burden of using, taming, and managing a swarm of pesky news “wanna-bees.” Maybe it’s time for news bloggers to take responsibility for naming their own specialty — ideally one that would distinguish them from social bloggers on one hand and mainstream journalists on the other. If they continue to let Old Media-types like Herr Heinen assign them a name, no doubt he’ll come up with something, but Jeff Jarvis might want to do us the favor of sparing us its translation.

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1. Technology News | Venture Capital, Startups, Silicon Valley, Web 2.0 Tech - 6/9/07

[…] Source:The Future of News Martin Stabe finds and Jeff Jarvis (thankfully) translates an article in which German Newspaper Publishers Association President Helmut Heinen irritatingly claims that phrases like “citizen journalist” are fraudulent because regular citizens cannot produce real “journalism.” Well, if he’s going to be that way about it, I don’t really care for that phrase either. […] Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. […]

2. Martin Stabe » links for 2007-06-09 - 6/9/07

[…] The Future of News: Finally, something journalists and bloggers might agree on. “Citizen journalis… Steve Boriss: “’Citizen journalist’ implies that the truly legitimate position is ‘journalist’ with the adjective ‘citizen’ used as a qualifier to diminish status, as in Vice President” (tags: citizenJournalism) […]

3. Clyde Bentley - 7/9/07

The movement in the U.S. started as “open source journalism.” Both the Northwest News and MyMissourian used that term in 2003-2004. The popular press liked “citizen journalism” so it entered the vernacular. The problem now is less the term itself than the lack of something appropriate to replace it.

It is really not that bad, however, if you go back to the roots of the term “journalism.” Blogging is almost by definition journal-writing. And “citizen” has the alternative meaning as “not a person in authority.” Police use it in that sense all the time (“citizen down!” or “we have a citizen report…”).

Perhaps instead of dwelling on the traditional definitions of “journalism,” we should look at the impact of non-tradition “journalism-like-mass and/or niche communication through written, video, audio or electronic media authored by persons who are not in the media industry nor earn their living via their communication skills.”

Aw, hell. Let’s shorten it to “citizen journalism.”

Check our angle out at http://thecyberbrains.com

4. Steve Boriss - 7/9/07

Clyde, This issue of the word “journalism” is pretty interesting. Apparently, the root “jour” comes from some languages where it translates to “day,” which if you overthink it is no longer the appropriate time interval for those who work on the Internet. The word “citizen” is also interesting, as America’s colonial printers were really citizens and printers first, and journalists last, if at all.


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