January 13, 2008

Goal: Journalist, citizen, human

The Journalist and the Buddha blogger asks why journalism can't talk about its own morality in a recent post. Although the writer shares guides that lead him through a discussion on objectivity, depression in the newsrooms and more, I found my a-ha moment here:
"My New Year’s resolution is to work as a journalist, to act as a citizen, and to live as a human without a blindfold."

Although the blogger dismisses that by saying
"I'll try to simply use my God-given head and heart and eyes,"
I found those simples words to be powerful.

For many years, it seems that journalists have sought to build walls around parts of their lives, or even eliminate segments from their lives. Reporters and editors have been forbidden to actively participate in politics, with one newspaper in 2002 extending the restrictions to spouses. (See On the Media: Professional Journalists, Personal Activists.)

Involvement of journalists in their local churches, community groups or clubs was frowned upon just in case those groups might become a news source.

Today, the debate looks at should a journalist blog?

John Robinson, among others, have suggested they want to know that a potential reporter is blogging - it shows interest in the field, raw ability and more. Yet not all agree that journalists should blog as evident at the discussion in October at the Online News Association.

I like that we are moving to acknowledging that journalists are humans too. I think we will discover that just as being a parent can make you a better editor or writer - watching someone learn what the world is can awaken your senses - so we will find that a person who struggles to be a better journalist, a better citizen and "live as a human" will be the person we want helping us make sense of the world we live in today.


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