Journalism/Churnalism

We recommend that you read this testimony to the US Senate by Davd Simon, the writer of The Wire.

Simon worked as a journo for several years in Baltimore.

What resonates with us is the fear that with newspapers in the UK closing every week and those that remain being run by skeleton staff, simply cutting and pasting press releases, that the ability to scrutinise will be greatly diminished, because, that is simply our job. Yes there is the important narrative stories but next to them should be the task of asking difficult questions. Never cynical, never naive, always sceptical.

The principle applies, particularly to local press and hyperlocal websites, such as ourselves. You need someone in the Council Offices, Police Station, asking the crucial questions, that lets be honest, they really don’t want us to ask.

You would be surprised at the number of people who just want the public to do as your told and accept what they say as gospel.

It is also a fair point to say there is a difference between chipping-in bloggers and high-end journalism. As Mr Simon says, give a man a hose in the garden, doesn’t make him a Citizen Fireman.

http://commerce.senate.gov/public/_files/DavidSimonTestimonyFutureofJournalism.pdf

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