This Week in #Journalism: Journalism or Activism?

 “A real journalist is one who understands, at a cellular level, and doesn’t shy away from, the adversarial relationship between government and press – the very tension that America’s founders had in mind with the First Amendment.”


“The question of who is a journalist and who is an activist and whether they can be one and the same continues to roar along, most recently in the instance of Glenn Greenwald’s reporting for The Guardian on the secrets revealed by Edward J. Snowden.”  “Journalists are responsible for following the truth wherever it may guide them,”  “Activism — which is admittedly accompanied by the kind of determination that can prompt discovery — can also impair vision. If an agenda is in play and momentum is at work, cracks may go unexplored.”  “Why is neutrality in journalism so continually celebrated?”  “A feigned objectivity in a field that runs on issues that demand a side be taken is an empty ruse.”  “Why must we define a journalist? Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan felt compelled to because the newspaper took it upon itself to decide who may wear the cloak, because of debates about Glenn Greenwald as an advocate, and because of questions of law. Her wise and compelling conclusion: “A real journalist is one who understands, at a cellular level, and doesn’t shy away from, the adversarial relationship between government and press – the very tension that America’s founders had in mind with the First Amendment.” Sadly, we don’t often see that definition of journalism played out from TV or the Beltway or especially the overlap of the two.”  “The fact that it is more difficult than ever to decide who qualifies as a “journalist” may make for a confusing media landscape, and it may trouble some professional journalists and media outlets, but in the long run we are better off.”  “Many people may not be journalists by profession, but still, at times, perform journalism. And it’s not that difficult to figure out which is which. Otherwise, you’re carving out a special class of people in an arena in which people doing the exact same thing would face different rules.”


Other stuff

Photographer Rob Hart created a Tumblr (“Laid off from the Sun-Times”), on which he documents his “new life [of underemployment] with an iPhone, but with the eye of a photojournalist trained in storytelling.”


“The investigative news nonprofit [ProPublica] is launching a monthly digital magazine for iOS devices that will collect the best of its reporting on current topics in the news. The first issue of ProPublica The Magazine, “In the Crosshairs,” is focused on war and gun violence, with stories on drone strikes and the Guatemalan civil war.”


“Thanks to the skyrocketing popularity of mobile devices, a new generation of designers and CMS developers has found the religion of Structured Content.”  “This challenging requirement — providing editors and writers with more control over the presentation of their content — is where many well-intentioned content models break down.”


“Overall confidence in TV news, which was at 46% in 1993, is now 23%; conservatives’ confidence is 18%, the lowest on record; and Republicans’ is 16%. (These numbers contrast with the opinions of liberals and Democrats, whose confidence in TV news is 26% and 34%, respectively.”  “Going forward, the mainstream commercial media, online and off, face many challenges, most prominently the competitive threat to their business models arising from the Internet generally and Google specifically. In such an environment it is essential that they not paint themselves into a political or ideological corner where only the like-minded feel welcome and trusting.”


“Photos, once slices of a moment in the past — sunsets, meetings with friends, the family vacation — are fast becoming an entirely new type of dialogue.”  “So isn’t this all bad for society? Another blow for the English language where children won’t even bother to communicate in LOL-speak anymore?

“We’re tiptoeing into a potentially very deep and interesting new way of communicating,” said Mitchell Stephens, author of “The Rise of the Image, the Fall of the Word,” and a journalism professor at New York University. “And as with anything, when you tiptoe in, you start in the shallow waters.”


Data Journalism is thriving. This the most salient conclusion from the second edition of the Data Journalism Awards organised by the Global Editors Network and sponsored by Google.


What The U.S. Government Asks Google To Censor [Infographic]


The Changing Face of Journalism [Infographic]


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