Report with care. Citizen Journalism brings with it the dangers of actual journalism.

October 3, 2008

Is there going to be a difference between citizen journalism and journalism in five years? Three years? One year?

I wish I could answer that, and I’d prefer to answer it in the affirmative. Because there’s a sour taste in my mouth about untrained reporters pitching story ideas and even submitting articles to publications that used to pay only accredited reporters and journalists to file.

Yet another example of the dangers involved in allowing joe and josephine six-pack (hey, Palin made it a popular term again) to play reporter are front and center in today’s misleading, dangerous and possibly illegal story of Steve Jobs’ heart attack.

Here’s the story about the story at

I’ll add more examples to my ongoing rant on the differences between hiring a trained, objective and ethical reporter to write for your newspaper or magazine, and paying some random writer to fill your pages with possible slander, libel, market manipulation or opinion in the guise of news.

Would you pay a blind taxi driver to take you to your destination across Manhattan?

Would you allow a monkey to perform gum surgery on you?

Would you let a person who doesn’t speak French to teach French to your children?

Would you choose a second-grader who excels in finger painting to paint your house?

The list goes on. If you’re not trained for a job, don’t pretend that you can do it as well as the professionals. That’s all I’m saying.

And now I’ve got yet another story to back me up.

You’re not going to find me trying to solder a circuit board, drive a bus, design a dress, run for congress or even chop down a tree. You will find me writing columns, articles and features for publications and outlets across the planet because it’s what I’m trained to do. It’s what I’ve been doing for 20 years. And I have the proper credentials to call myself a journalist.

Stand aside citizens and let me and my brethren do our jobs.

*Caveats – the world overflows with caveats – there are certainly a small percentage of people who are skilled enough to perform a job through their natural ability. But this is the exception rather than the rule.

Keep reading!