Opinion – When Everyone’s A Techno Journalist, No One Is


CNN wants people who wear Google Glass (who actually call themselves “Glass-holes”) to become the news organization’s eyes on the world.

Otherwise, the network risks having to hire journalists. And nobody wants them.

News organizations have put a lot of time and effort into eliminating actual journalists from journalism. Many local news producers are replacing the camera operators in their studios with robots.

Just last year, the powers that be at the Chicago Sun-Times laid off all of their photographers. After all, anyone can take a photo, right? Who needs a professional when everyone has a phone on his or her camera?

Maybe the people who say such things have seen the photography of Robert Capa, Arthur Fellig or Dorothea Lange. If they have, however, they obviously don’t know the difference between amateur and professional or consider it just too expensive.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter. Soon everyone will be a photojournalist with cameras built right into their glasses. And to paraphrase a line from “The Incredibles,” when everyone’s a photojournalist, no one will be.

Still, Tech Times reports the brave new world is almost here.

It starts with CNN asking all the Glassholes out there to submit their videos and photographs.

“We launched a new feature that invites you to share photos and videos with CNN directly from Google Glass,” Tech Times quotes Katie Hawkins-Gaar, CNN’s iReport editor.

Tech Times reports iReport is part of the trend in wearable technology, making CNN the first-ever major news network to let its audience and readers contribute their videos and stories directly through the Google Glass device.

Oh, goody.

This is more than just an old warhorse whining about his industry changing and pushing out his old drinking buddies. Journalists, by God, serve a function in society. Journalism is not something any ol’ someone can do.

What the Sun-Times, CNN and other news organization are doing is passing out Swiss army knives on the street and telling everyone that they’re now “citizen surgeons.”

Start remove those gall bladders!

Journalism is not just dumping facts, opinions and images in front of the public. It is (or damn well used to be) about putting those elements in a meaningful context and adhering to a rigid code of conduct and ethics.

While more than a few people flouted those codes, there were always editors with hiring and firing authority to enforce them. There was an organization in place to make sure the public received the most responsible version of the news.

Schools of journalism made people spend four years and thousands of dollars to obtain degrees that assured everyone that journalism is a craft and profession. It’s not a hobby you can take up by buying the latest tech.

There’s a fine line here.

Journalism is not a credentialed profession. You do not need a license or a passing score on an exam to practice journalism. The First Amendment guarantees that everyone is invited to the party.

To get in, however, you used to have to get past the bouncer — a curmudgeonly old $#@& called an “editor.” Even Superman had to get his approval before filing his first story at the Daily Planet.

The real danger of life without editors is that “news” without perspective and background will be simply thrown out at the public.

That’s no way for people in a free and open society to get the information they need for self government.

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