Ronda Hauben on Mon, 3 Apr 2006 18:15:59 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Response to article on citizen journalism by Samuel Freedman

Citizen Journalists and the New 'News'
A response to Samuel Freedman's column on CBS TV's 'Public Eye'

"Each week we invite someone from outside... to weigh in with their
thoughts about CBS News and the media at large," explains the introduction
on the CBS TV Web site feature "Public Eye." The March 29 article featured
on Public Eye was on the subject of citizen journalism. It was written by
Samuel Freedman, a professor at the Columbia University School of
Journalism and a New York Times columnist. (1) In his article, Freedman
presents not only a superficial view of citizen journalism, but also a
rosy colored view of the mainstream professional press in the U.S.

The thrust of Freedman's argument is that citizen journalism is "part of a
larger attempt to degrade, even to disenfranchise journalism as practiced
by trained professionals." Citizen journalism, according to Freedman, is
in essence the presentation of "raw material generated by amateurs,"
unlike the journalism of the "trained, skilled journalist (who) should
know how to weigh, analyze, describe and explain."

Considering that Freedman is a professional journalist and also a
professor who is responsible for the training of professional journalists,
one might expect that he would do some investigation about the origins and
thrust of the phenomena of citizen journalism before writing an article
which not only mischaracterizes the phenomena, but also the practice of
most of the professional journalists in the U.S.

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