Thursday, 7 May 2009

Wire's David Simon: Bloggers and CJs are no substitue for professional journalists

David Simon, the creator of The Wire television series and a former Baltimore Sun journalist, told a US Senate Commerce subcommittee hearing on the future of journalism that bloggers and citizen journalists can't do the job of a properly trained, professional reporter.
Simon told the committee yesterday (May 6): "You do not - in my city - run into bloggers or so-called citizen journalists at City Hall, or in the courthouse hallways or in the bars and union halls where police officers gather.
"You do not see them consistently nurturing and then pressing sources. You do not see them holding institutions accountable on a daily basis.
"Why? Because high-end journalism - that which acquires essential information about our government and society in the first place - is a profession; it requires daily, full-time commitment by trained men and women who return to the same beats day in and day out until the best of them know everything with which a given institution is contending.
"For a relatively brief period in American history - no more than the last fifty years or so - a lot of smart and talented people were paid a living wage and benefits to challenge the unrestrained authority of our institutions and to hold those institutions to task.
"Modern newspaper reporting was the hardest and in some ways most gratifying job I ever had.
"I am offended to think that anyone, anywhere believes American institutions as insulated, self-preserving and self-justifying as police departments, school systems, legislatures and chief executives can be held to gathered facts by amateurs pursuing the task without compensation, training or for that matter, sufficient standing to make public officials even care to whom it is they are lying or from whom they are withholding information."
You can read Simon's full testimony here.


Plenty said...

Really? He says Citizen Journalists and bloggers can't do a proper job? Rubbish. Yes, it's true that they aren't 'on the beat' but that is because they are not being paid by big corporations to do a job. They are doing it as a public service. And yes, CJs and bloggers can hold establishments to account. Yet again, someone is envious of the rise in CJs and bloggers. There are lots of talented CJs and bloggers out there, who could probably do a better job than any of these so called 'copytaking' professionals, if only they were given a break....

Anonymous said...

Dear Plenty.

You just made the same point as Simon. Jaysus.
He said that journalism is a profession not a hobby
That in order to cover institutions daily and build sources find out the truth behind press releases and public statements, you need to be a paid professional doing it fulltime.

It isn't about what bloggers are, it's about what they aren't because they are not professional paid fulltime reporters. To claim otherwise is absurd, yet you seem unwilling to acknowledge the absurdity.