What’s a “journalist”?

What’s a “journalist”?

Used to be journalists covered news events as objectively as humanly possible. Now we have bloggers who write in real time and pundits who analyze the news and offer their opinions. One poll even found a quarter of all Americans 18-29 years said they turned to “The Daily Show” and “Saturday Night Live” to learn about and understand the news.

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Are these shows informing, entertaining, or editorializing? Should news be entertaining?

Please review “The Journalist’s Role” on pages 8-11 in the Handbook of Independent Journalism located in the Course Resources and Chapter 2 in The News Manual before tackling this discussion prompt.

In addressing the main questions of this discussion prompt, please also discuss some mix of the following questions in your response.

Are bloggers and pundits crossing the line to editorializing with their biased questions, interpretative news and public advocacy? Or are they adding the kind of texture and depth to the news that unbiased writers can’t offer?

Is a pundit a journalist, or do pundits give journalists a bad name?

What exactly qualifies one to be a journalist or a pundit? What does a journalist do that’s different from a pundit and vice versa? Is Stephen Colbert a journalist or a pundit? What about Seth Meyers? John Oliver? Trevor Noah? What were Jon Stewart, Chris Matthews, Larry King and Lou Dobbs?

What about the people who are recording history in real time as part of what futurist Jamais Cascio calls “participatory panopticon” – the personal photographic and video content on the Internet that he believes can be utilized as an up-to-date, authoritative source on all human activities? Are such reports objective truth of the kind the late Ben Bradlee, John Seigenthaler, Mike Wallace, Walter Cronkite, Edward R. Murrow, Gwen Ifill, and so many other 20th century journalists worked so hard to present?

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