Sunday, November 13, 2011

"Real" Journalism

I went down to Occupy Chicago and was interviewing people for my podcast (which fell through, that's another story / post) and had some really good conversations.  I wanted to know why people were there at the protest, why or if they supported it, and how they related, among other points of conversation.  There were very rich conversations and I gave the people plenty of time to speak their minds without interrupting or leading them.

During one of my recorded interviews with one of the protesters, a man from the Chicago Tribune interrupted us and the conversation went like this.

Tribune Man:  "Hi, I was wondering if I could ask you some questions."
Protester:  "Who are you with?"
TM:  "I'm with the Chicago Tribune.  I'm a real journalist."
P: "Uh, ok..."
TM: "What is your name?"
P:  Gives name

At this point the reporter just walked away.  Didn't ask any questions.  Didn't ask a SINGLE question.  And he had the balls to mock me in the process.

This has gotten me thinking, what makes somebody a "real" journalist?  Or a "real" reporter?  What makes somebody more legitimate than someone else when it comes to reporting and journalism?

Nowadays most of the journalists on TV are either right wing corporate shills, OR right wing corporate shills masquerading as "centrists", a.k.a. David Brooks.  (thanks to The Professional Left for opening my eyes to this).  And yet they are the so called experts, the so called journalists.  They get to spew falsehoods, misstatements, and opinions masquerading as facts.

They mock bloggers or smaller, independent media outlets.  And when they're not mocking them, they're simply ignoring them because the message or facts that they communicate don't match up with their message.

So apart from the obvious reasons non corporate media is ignored, what makes a journalist or reporter legitimate?  What makes an individual a reporter or journalist?  Do you have to be a part of an accredited organization?  Can an ordinary citizen do reporting / journalism?



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