I watched the Senate committee’s hearing on the future of journalism yesterday from my computer at work. Well, watched isn’t the right word. It was more listened to.
What struck me most about the hearings were two points:
- The so-called “new media” folks testifying at the hearing are dreaming if they think citizen journalism can make up for having a news organization with the power and money to have reporters dedicated to stories, issues and people. (Can you image coverage of foreign affairs?) I’m not saying the news organization has to be paper based, but news organizations are essential. We can’t count on citizen journalists alone.
- David Simon, former Baltimore Sun journalist and current Hollywood writer/producer, articulated so well what some of us print and former print journalists think. (For his full transcript click here.) One metaphor captured it precisely for me:
“The very phrase citizen journalist strikes my ear as nearly Orwellian. A neighbor who is a good listener and cares about people is a good neighbor. He is not in any sense a citizen social worker. Just as a neighbor with a garden hose and good intention is not a citizen firefighter. To say so is a heedless insult to trained social workers and firefighters.”
Thank you, David Simon. Thank you.