When Wisconsin Assembly Republican Minority Leader Betty Jo Nelson told her colleagues many years ago that she did not want to extend the legislative floor period in December as it would cut into her cookie baking time she gave women in her profession a black eye. When Katie Couric stated that she would not go to the Middle East war zone as CBS News anchor due to family reasons she not only gave women journalists a black eye, but sent all news professionals into chills.
There is a duty as a journalist to go where the news is and often times that means into the lion’s den. When Frank Reynolds, Dan Rather, Edward R Murrow, and countless other news reporters ventured into war zones and international hot spots they all had loved ones they worried about. They had personal responsibilities to attend, but knew as reporters they all had a duty to the truth. To see the truth of war you need to see the action, talk with the combatants, and understand the nuances of the conflict that can’t be understood by sitting in a safe studio in New York.
The daily newspaper stories with bylines of the reporters in Beirut or Israeli cities under rocket fire are testimony to the brave and necessary work of bringing the world to the news consumer. In spite of the cautionary roadblock that Couric put up it should be noted that scores of brave journalists are heading to the Middle East to insure we are informed and educated.
Couric reminds me of some reporters in the Statehouse who would sit in the pressroom waiting for news releases from the elected offices. While being spoon-fed is easy it should be noted that this method never unearths any real news and ill-serves the public. If Couric can’t understand the necessity of placing the top anchor of CBS News into the major news event of the year I strongly suggest she give back some of her booty that she is collecting from CBS. If she can’t understand the prestige and ad revenues that her on the spot reporting brings to CBS News I suggest she can’t fulfill her role as an anchor and should revaluate her news credentials…now I am giggling. Her news credentials…..Gwen Iffel has news credentials, just to make my point.
While Couric was showing her inability to be news anchor another group of people this week claimed to be journalists, who I found to be laughable, and a sad commentary on our times.
Would you believe that about 34% of bloggers believe they are involved in some form of journalism? This is not a misprint! One-third of the bloggers polled by the Pew Internet & American Life Project deemed their work akin to what real journalists do for news organizations.
For several years I reported the news and understand how one gathers information, culls sources, double checks the facts, and then writes with objectivity and fairness for all sides. I can say with certainty the vast majority of blogs do not follow journalistic rules and newsroom ethics and in no way can be defined as a form of journalism. For bloggers to even pretend they are journalists is a sign of the times in which we live where standards have been so reduced that the definition of a reporter is no longer even understood.
As for myself I enjoy putting my thoughts down in writing and have a couple of decades of journals as proof. I certainly do not report the news, but add opinion and texture to the topics of the day. I have no problem admitting I do the blog for myself and if others read it fine, if not that is fine too, as I find this a personal enjoyment.
This fall I plan to take a HTML website computer course at the college and in time construct a blog literally from the bottom up. Learning new things and being continually curious is the way to be truly happy and rich.
Which leads me back to the start of this post.
I can’t imagine being a national reporter/anchor and not wanting to go to the biggest story of the year. Yet there are many bloggers who would gladly go and blog the events in real time and give an opinion or two along the way. (I saw the perfect apple orchard on the Lebanese border where I could set up my lap top ….wonder if they have WiFi for me….yes lamb and veggies would be great for dinner..while we eat could I ask you about the Israeli helicopters that continually fly over….