Supporters of "citizen journalism" argue it provides independent, accurate, reliable information that the traditional media don't provide. While it has its place, the reality is it really isn't journalism at all, and it opens up information flow to the strong probability of fraud and abuse. The news industry should find some way to monitor and regulate this new trend (emphasis added).The "news industry" (a.k.a. the mainstream media) isn't already a hotbed of "fraud and abuse"? How about Rather-gate? How about anti-war propaganda that's thinly disguised as news? How about the daily contributions to global-warming hysteria? How about the MSM's pervasive anti-Republican, big-government slant? And on, and on.
As Hazinski observes, "without any real standards, anyone has a right to declare himself or herself a journalist." And "anyone" does just that -- every day -- on ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, MSNBC; in the pages of The New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek; etc., etc., etc.
Hazinski proposes this:
Journalism schools such as mine at the University of Georgia should create mini-courses to certify citizen journalists in proper ethics and procedures, much as volunteer teachers, paramedics and sheriff's auxiliaries are trained and certified.How can he say, with a straight face, that J-schools are fit to certify anyone's "proper ethics"? By that standard, Osama bin Laden would be qualified to certify the borders of Israel.
Hazinski acknowledges the argument that "standards could infringe on freedom of the press and journalism shouldn't be regulated. But," he adds, "we have already seen the line between news and entertainment blur enough to destroy significant credibility." Actually, the line between truth and reality has been blurred -- nay, obliterated -- by the MSM.
Citizen journalism is precisely what's needed to push the MSM in the direction of accuracy, honesty, and balance. "Professional journalists" like Hazinski don't want that. They want to keep feeding us their Left-biased distortions and lies -- without fear of contradiction.
UPDATE (12/17/07): There's a related post at The Future of News.