A World Without Journalists?

Friday, April 15, 2016 - 17:00
Mon, 04/11/2016 to Mon, 04/18/2016

With all of the new technologies (the Internet, phone cameras, tablets), it is becoming increasingly easy for anyone to create and publish "journalism". Blogs were an early version of this -- regular people publishing articles on the Internet for anyone to read. Today, we have increasingly professional quality writing, photography, and video being created and published by amateur or "citizen" journalists. This can sometimes be a good thing -- scientists writing about their discoveries, or athletes directly writing about their experiences in a game. And sometimes, this can be a bad thing when the industry's ethics and norms are not upheld (such as disclosure of bias and conflict of interest).

This week, I challenge you to find an example of amateur or citizen journalism -- but not just any example; find one that is either remarkably good or particularly bad. Describe (and link to, if possible) the original piece of journalism. Then explain your opinion about why this piece of amateur journalism is particularly good or particularly bad. And then finally, think a bit about the future -- if most journalism was like this, would this world be better? Why or why not?

Your essay must be entered into the system by Friday (4/15) at 5pm. It should be in the neighborhood of 300-500 words, and include a relevant image at the top of the article.

Over the weekend or on Monday, be sure to log into the class system. Try to read all of the stories from your fellow students, and (optionally) leave comments to the author about the essay. You will be assigned as a "Discussant" for one of the essays. Read that essay carefully; you will be asked to present that essay on Monday to the rest of the class. You will also "discuss" it by describing whether you agree with the argument in the essay or not, and why you think this example is interesting to think about (or not). Try to include both praise and criticism in your discussion.

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