Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Citizen Journalism—Not

Who wrote that?

“The Deseret News isn’t the only newsroom to embark on a citizen-journalism model to make up for smaller reporting staffs. The benefits are obvious: The content is cheap. But the costs can be enormous.

“Giving people a pipeline to your news pages and your website — labeling it as ‘news’ and treating it just like the stories produced by your reporters — is an invitation for abuse. People have vested interests in getting information out. Usually it is not evil; it’s human nature. You want to give a plug to your brother-in-law’s new business, to your child’s school, to your own enterprise.” . . .

“If Mike Winder wants to become a reporter, he should go back to college and take journalism classes. In Journalism 101, he will learn that what he did was a disservice to newspaper readers and the citizens of his city.”

—Terry Orme, managing editor, The Salt Lake Tribune,
Editor column: West Valley City mayor harmed his city, Deseret News readers,” Nov. 12, 2011
Image: Salt Lake Tribune

Background: West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder, frustrated by thin news coverage of his city, started submitting news stories to area newspapers under a pseudonym, “Richard Burwash.” Since the story broke, The Deseret News and other media are reexamining policies on “citizen journalism.” Winder resigned yesterday from his job as a PR executive, but continues as mayor. In August, The Deseret News laid off 43% of its newsroom staff.

• Resource: Code of Ethics, Public Relations Society of America.

• Editorial Comment: Mike: We’re registering students for next semester now.


Visit our award-winning student news site, The Hard News Café

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1 comment:

  1. That is definitely a scary situation. Unfortunately, many newspapers (and their editors) likely won't react to this development until it's too late for their own hides ...