Sunday, August 15, 2010

Citizen Journalism

There is a lot of talk about the future of journalism, weblogs and citizen journalism. In reading today's Pioneer Press, I came across two opinion pieces that to me exemplify how much better citizen experts can be, than the pros.

The first was by a retired local economics professor, Edward Lotterman. He gave what is really a pretty simple lesson, explaining the difference between cyclical economic problems, versus structural economic downturns. He went on to describe how our current situation is structural, and discussed the fact that solving it: 1) Has political implications; 2) Would be expected to take 6-8 years; 3) Absent political will (and intelligence) is not guaranteed. It wasn't overly long or detailed, but this kind of grown-up explanation is generally absent in the work of mainstream professional journalists, who seem much more caught up in reporting day-to-day things--some newly released statistic, some attention-grabbing claim, or random anecdotal happenings.

The second was by Amy Lindgren, a local job-search counselor. She took issue with various articles of conventional wisdom:

  • The consequences of extending unemployment benefits
  • Whether job-seeking is a full-time job
  • Job prospects for older workers
  • How to assess the "discouraged worker" statistics
Like Lotterman's article, it wasn't overly long or technical, but it took time to examine the conventional wisdom, instead of mindlessly propounding it.

1 comment:

  1. Another criticism I have with professional journalists is their utter credulity in reporting things that anyone who pays attention to media at all can identify as BS - whether it's spin from an organization or politician, or an outright hoax-in-the-making, like the balloon boy.

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