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Leonard Pitts on Citizen Journalists.

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Drip, Oct 7, 2010.

  1. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    Pitts hits this one out the park.
  2. Piotr Rasputin

    Piotr Rasputin New Member

    As sports journalists, we should know better than anyone (except maybe the political journalists) that it's unwise to underestimate one's opponent. No one cares about our standards, training, ethics, etc.

    But hey, if journalists want to write - in 2010! - columns lamenting the rise of citizen journalism, then have at it. If we want to piss and moan that our "standards and ethics!!!!!!" are just SOOOO important, cool.

    Of course, I happen to read a couple of sports blogs written by lawyer types, and gee, their writing and story "standards!!!!!" seem to be just fine. And much of what we hold up as "ethics!!!!!!" is just common sense that somehow still seems to escape quite a few "trained!" journalists.

    Anyway, nice column. If this were 2003.
  3. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Oh bullshit.

    Pitts picks on an easy target with O'Keefe. But bloggers & citizen journalists have broken stories & have been holding traditional media accountable for their work -- something they're not used to.

    It was a citizen journalist that discredited Dan Rather's story on GWB's National Guard service. Rather had years of experience and a staff to get the story right, and it was blown out of the water minutes after he broadcast the story by a citizen journalist.

    And while O'Keefe might be a joke, a disaster, I don't remember Pitts or any other journalist objecting to Jayson Blair being called a journalist or to his rising through the ranks at the New York Times despite shaky credentials.

    Do we need to go through all of the plagiarism, fake quote, fake stories, and general laziness that has graced the pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post and others?

    Pitts and others don't like that they no longer drive what's in the news, what gets covered, and how it gets covered.

    It's a new world and Pitts doesn't like it. Too bad.

    And how would he like to correct the "problem?" Should we license journalist? Should they have to graduate from journalism school? Should they have to pass a test?

    Keep bashing O'Keefe if you want, but he's just the citizen journalist equivalent of Jayson Blair and he discredits citizen journalists no more than Blair discredited mainstream journalists.
  4. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Even if you are a "real" journalist, it doesn't mean people want to pay to read your stuff. That's the bottom line. Name-calling doesn't do anyone any good. Maybe if newspaper websites weren't afraid of linking to good "citizen" journalists, it might drive up page views.
  5. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member


    Sure Leonard, it must take hours for the New York Times' reporters to get Prof. Thompson on the phone. All 78 of them.

    Pure laziness. But they're all journalists, right Leonard?

  6. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Journalism is your editor asking you to call nursing homes to find some resident who is fascinated about the leaves changing color. Journalism is writing about an advertiser's new product or getting a nice grip-and-grin in the paper. Journalism is putting several people on a shared byline for a 15-inch story.
  7. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    OK Leonard, let's agree that James O'Keefe isn't a journalist.

    But let's take a look at 24 hours on Romenesko's blog. Let's look at the action/ethics of "real" journalists.

    I'll look forward to your next column:

    Some great journalists, right Leonard. You must be proud of your industry.

    And this didn't come from some extensive search. It came from looking over the latest posts of one blog.
  8. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Clever, YankeeFan. You are proving that real journalists are held to standards while "citizen journalists" can go about their merry way, begging for trips, free food and engaging in pederasty with no consequences.

    Thanks for bringing it home.
  9. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    How did I prove that? The Union Leader publisher's trip is still being underwritten and the Wisconsin editor doesn't have her job back.

    Each instance has been mentioned in the press, but there's been no outcry -- certainly no hand wringing column by the esteemed Leonard Pitts -- and no "consequences".

    Sure there are plenty of bloggers and such who review products or movies or vacation spots who get freebies. But Leonard was arguing that they shouldn't be compared to "real" journalists because "real" journalists are so much better, so different.

    But are they?

    Those four stories were from one day, and they're just the stories that came to light.

    How many other journalists are letting advertisers effect news coverage? How many other journalists are receiving freebies from people/companies they cover?

    Hell, explain the journalistic ethics of the Times hit piece the other day on the Tribune. They use anonymous sources to rehash 2 year old stories shortly after launching a competing product.

    Yeah, that's ethical.

    I'm sure you can produce hundreds of stories about conflicted "citizen journalists." The point is, I can find just as many stories about mainstream journalists.

    And Leonard doesn't give "citizen journalists" any credit.

    Not a fair picture. Not a full picture. Not an accurate picture.
  10. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Well, Yankee, maybe the citizen journalists will give a fair, full and accurate picture.

    Please provide those links when they do.
  11. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Why should they? Why would you expect them to?

    They're niche. Do you expect an electronics blogger to give you a full, fair picture? Do you expect an MLB.com "writer" to give you a full, fair picture.

    Do you expect Michelle Malkin or FireDogLake to give you a full, fair picture?

    I sure as hell don't.

    But I would hope that the "journalists" at the New York Times or the Washington Post would. I would hope that a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist like Leonard Pitts would.

    That column was one that Leonard could have written in his sleep. Maybe his next one will ask why Starbucks calls its large coffee a Venti.

    Maybe he's on vacation and that was just an "evergreen" column he had on file.

    He talks about how hard journalist work to get an interview. Did Leonard interview one person for this column? He doesn't quote anyone.

    Couldn't he have at least gotten Syracuse professor Thompson on the horn to agree with his premise?

    If Leonard wants to yell, "get off my lawn," at citizen journalists, fine. But don't tell me that it's some great column or that he "hit it out of the park."
  12. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I like Leonard Pitts. This column is not his best work.

    Your arguments about how some journalists are less than perfect are a red herring, though.
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