Friday, December 14, 2007

Fuck You, Tom Paine.

Former NBC Jounalismist and current professor of All Things Jounalismish at the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalismosity thinks the grubby proles and pamphleteers should keep their fucking hands off of his Fourth Estate.

Emphasis has been added…mostly just to keep my hand from punching right through my screen…

Unfettered 'citizen journalism' too risky

Published on: 12/13/07

You're beginning to get a lot more news ... from you.

It ranges from the CNN YouTube debates to political blogs to cellphone video of that sniper who opened fire at an Omaha Mall. These are all examples of so called "citizen journalism," the hot new extension of the news business where the audience becomes the reporter.

Supporters of "citizen journalism" argue it provides independent, accurate, reliable information that the traditional media don't provide. While it has its place, the reality is it really isn't journalism at all, and it opens up information flow to the strong probability of fraud and abuse. The news industry should find some way to monitor and regulate this new trend.

The premise of citizen journalism is that regular people can now collect information and pictures with video cameras and cellphones, and distribute words and images over the Internet. Advocates argue that the acts of collecting and distributing makes these people "journalists." This is like saying someone who carries a scalpel is a "citizen surgeon" or someone who can read a law book is a "citizen lawyer." Tools are merely that. Education, skill and standards are really what make people into trusted professionals. Information without journalistic standards is called gossip.


So without any real standards, anyone has a right to declare himself or herself a journalist. Major media outlets also encourage it. Citizen journalism allows them to involve audiences, and it is a free source of information and video. But it is also ripe for abuse.


Having just anyone produce widely distributed stories without control can have the reverse effect from what advocates intend. It's just a matter of time before something like a faked Rodney King beating video appears on the air somewhere.

Journalism organizations should head that off. Citizen reports can be a valuable addition to news and information flow with some protections:

• Major news organizations must create standards to substantiate citizen-contributed information and video, and ensure its accuracy and authenticity.

• They should clarify and reinforce their own standards and work through trade organizations to enforce national standards so they have real meaning.

• Journalism schools such as mine at the University of Georgia should create mini-courses to certify citizen journalists in proper ethics and procedures, much as volunteer teachers, paramedics and sheriff's auxiliaries are trained and certified.
…and Blogger Ethics Panels For All. Amen.

Because a “fettered” citizen journalism has an ever so much nicer, tamer, more gelded ring to it, doesn't it?

I am tempted to opine that somewhere in the Ben Hecht wing of Style Heaven, Mike Royko has put his beer down long enough to roll his eyes and pick out just the right gauge thunderbolt to drop on this truckling chufflicker. Tempted, but that would mean that I take this article seriously, when it’s so obviously a hoax.

I mean, here we have an article in which a gen-u-ine professor takes time out of his busy day to inveigh against The!Direst!Threats!to Journalissimo, and yet when I go to search it, I can’t find the word "Fox" mentioned anywhere.

Couldn’t find "Hume" either.

Or “O'Reilly".

Or "Broder".

Or "Friedman".

Or “Limbaugh”.

Or “Savage”.

Or "Matthews".

Or “Russert”.

Or “The collapse of ‘Nightline’”.

Or “Roger Fucking Ailes”.

Or “The shuttering of foreign bureaus”.

Or “The Rise of Corporate Media”.

Or “The Firing of Phil Donahue”:

Or “Media Consolidation”.

Or “The killing of the Fairness Doctrine”.

Or “Tony Snow”.

Or “Charles Krauthammer”.

Neither “Joe Klein” nor “Joke Line”.

No “Jonah Goldberg”.

No “Karl Rove getting his journo card punched by Newsweek”.

No “Jeff Gannon” or “James Guckert”.

No “Michele Malkin”.

No “Lou Dobbs”.

Judith Miller was nowhere to be found.

Bob Novak? MIA.

No “David Gregory”.

No mention of “Downing Street” or “Macaca” or “Justice Department Political Purges” or any other of a dozen stories broken or kept in the public eye by citizen journalists because The Villagers did not want them in the store window of the MSM Outlet Mall.

No mention of “The Gaggle”.

Or “Rolling over for Tony Snow”.

Or “Rolling over for Scott McClellan”.

Or “Rolling over for Ari Fleischer”.

Or “Hardball”.

Or “Cross Fire”.

No “Chris Wallace”.

No “Bill Kristol”.

No “Neil Cavuto”.

Didn't find a-one of 'em mentioned; just the perils of letting the Great Unwashed paw at Lady Media's Fun Bags without a J-school degree and a moist towelette.

Which is odd, because frankly, Professor Hazinski, if Journalomysticism had not failed the citizens of the United States so utterly, callously, completely, conspicuously and spectacularly over the last 30 years – if your profession had not deserted its post and let a great, rotting, pin-head-infested abyss take over the sacred real estate once tenanted by a robust and fearless American Journalism – then maybe there would not be so many Smelly Citizen Journalists, desperately tossing their little torches into the Vast Darkness your colleagues and owners left behind when they turned tail and ran away.

So I assumed you must be fucking kidding.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry...I must have missed it. Just who the fuck is David Hazinski again? And how long does he think the prison term for practicing journalism without a license should be?

Fran / Blue Gal said...

I'd give you a don't sugarcoat it award except I linked you already this week.

You gave my spine a chill this morning, dg. Not that there's anything wrong with that....

Will Divide said...

One might add that the piece was published in perhaps the nation's worst big city paper (though competition for this title is fierce), Atlanta's Journal-Constitution.

Anonymous said...

Hazinski's fifth paragraph at the link:
"But unlike those other professions, journalism — at least in the United States — has never adopted uniform self-regulating standards. There are commonly accepted ethical principals — two source confirmation of controversial information or the balanced reporting of both sides of a story, for example, but adhering to the principals is voluntary. There is no licensing, testing, mandatory education or boards of review. Most other professions do a poor job of self-regulation, but at least they have mechanisms to regulate themselves. Journalists do not."

His use of 'principals' instead of 'principles' in his own story succinctly explains why he is no longer a journalist.

And then there is Hazinski's last paragraph:
"But we have already seen the line between news and entertainment blur enough to destroy significant credibility. Continuing to do nothing as information flow changes will further erode it. Journalism organizations who choose to do nothing may soon find the line between professional and citizen journalism gone as well as the trust of their audiences."


Anonymous said...

One might add that the piece was published in perhaps the nation's worst big city paper (though competition for this title is fierce), Atlanta's Journal-Constitution. Will Divide

Two things:
1)UGA is a football stadium with an agricultural school built around it. You can get a better degree at commuter-school Georgia State.

2)What Will Divide says is the truth; the AJC is the kind of paper that balances George Will with Thomas Friedman. The AJC practices relentless boosterism--and always buys and buries its competition.

So little actual journalism is practiced in North Georgia that you have to read the New York Times to find out stuff here.

The good professor--notice the TV hair--is afraid for his job, because when the State Board of Regents starts cutting back they're going to look at his program and say, "Why are we training people to write knob-slobbering stories about us when we already have all the PR staff we can use?"

Anonymous said...

If he wants people to stop blogging and commenting without degrees in journalism, he should get bills passed against it in every state legislature, establish national board exams for licensure and licensure boards in every state, and a regulatory board to accredit every school in the country that wants to offer a journalism degree, like every other wanker who has a job and wants to make it a "profession" does. And then he should talk one of those boards into grandfathering him in, so he can keep scolding us poor non-professionals. Until then, he's shit out of luck.

Anonymous said...

In your list of "where are theys" may I note one glaring oversight? "Princess" Dana Perino.

Anonymous said...

The really sad thing is that they actually think they are being journalists - that journalism actually does consist of sitting between a right wing wanker and a slightly less right wing wanker and bobbling their head as the wankers each spew their bullshit. Most of America thinks this is what journalism is, too, because it is virtually all you see unless you hunt mightily or tune in to KO.

Anonymous said...

Good one, Drifty!

Slightly OT, but this is the end of Krugman's NYT column today:

"Meanwhile, anyone who expects the Fed or anyone else to come up with a plan that makes this financial crisis just go away will be sorely disappointed.

David Brooks is off today."

Well thank fucking god for that!

WereBear said...

A masterful takedown! With singing phrases I will use myself as I throw things at the teevee.

The kitten's sponge rubber toys work well. AND amuse the kitten.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for being as blunt as the Rude Pundit, and as erudite as James Wolcott. The MSM will learn to Fear the dirty hippies.

Anonymous said...

OMFG, so many great, disturbing quotes to slag from in Hazinski's wimpering screed. I opine for one in particular, because one of the best traits of our species is our knack for taking an old tool and finding new and innovative uses for it beyond it's intention or tradition, ie bloggers/citizen journalists;

"Tools are merely that. Education, skill and standards are really what make people into trusted professionals."

While I agree in principle, pal, look at the body of work Steve Gilliard, et al, busted out. Skill and standards should be a given. But a degree is worth the paper its printed on (even lil dubbie has a Harvard MBA but couldn't run a lemonade stand) Howzabout aptitude, ethics, or accountability, cuz IMHO those two are sorely missing in many 'professional journos' nowadays. Healthy skepticism has been replaced with wealthy sycophantia.

So fuck 'em. The dirty proles are taking back what's theirs to begin with, and doing a much better job of tearing so called professionals some long overdue peer-review.

One earns trust by delivering truth with transparency. If the 'professionals' continue to act as paid propagandists, bloviating about the emperors new clothes, then it's up to we the people to calls it as we sees it.

Hazinski, what an asshat.

darkblack said...

'This is David Hazinski, reminding you to help control the journalist population by licencing, spaying, and neutering your ink-stained wretches'

How telling that he has left his former profession over two decades ago to enter one of the other oldest...Teaching.

Such pretense, that the professor has something relevant to add to the dialog regarding information control, save for acting as a hazily nostalgic example of when the former gatekeepers were actually trusted to attempt the job of informing the public and not just massaging their desired prejudices to suit the needs of the investor class.

Anonymous said...


I'm sorry, I've been unable to find the name of the journalism school that Thomas Paine attended. Can someone help me out with this?

Frankly, David and his whining remind me much more of Delores Umbridge than of Thomas Paine.

My last observation: The notice that "David Brooks is off today" is TOTALLY unnecessary; he's never actually ON.

Nice smackdown of a poseur, DG.

Anonymous said...

So I assume you must be fucking kidding.


Unknown said...

David Brooks is off. Like month-old camembert.

tech98 said...

Education, skill and standards are really what make people into trusted professionals.

And craven gutless careerism, a newsroom culture of intimidation and cost-cutting, layers of corporatist management and pandering to advertisers turn them back into Media Whores.

Anonymous said...

Great list of medai liars, but you left out two big fish: William Safire and his boss, Arthur Sulzberger, owner of the NY Slimes. How Sulzberger keeps his name out of the news is just an amazing testiment to the power of institutional money, and that the only "opposition" press out there is in the blogs. Safire was the first "respectable" "mainstream journalist" to make s*** up about the Clintons for fun and profit; coming from a former Nixon speechwriter, and unapologetic Nixon abuse-of-powers apologist. From his perch at the Sulzberger Times, Safire helped legitimize Scaife's "Arkansas Project" and the horrendous actions of Judge David Sentelle, Ken Starr, and all the other partisan Repubs out to hang Clinton, come hell or high water. The Conason/Lyons book "The Hunting of the President" is practically a compilation of NY Times and WashPost lies all through the 1990s. Without a doubt, it can be said the Safire, Sulzberger, Rosenthal, Brooks, and their compatriots over at the Post laid the groundwork for Repub coup 2000.

rich board said...

I think he's afraid one day he might have to teach blogging 1001 at that esteemed journalisim school he works at!

Anonymous said...

Oh, c'mon Driftglass. Thirty years ago the US press finally got around to admitting that Vietnam was not working out so well. It was publishing serious accounts about how the most serious problem facing the country was hippies. The Republican nominee was committing treason by negotiating with the North Vietnamese, a fact which went unpublished for twenty years.

The difference between now and then is that a little journalism was published previously so that people would buy the product. Now they get their revenue from advertising and would give away newspapers-- are giving away newspapers on the Internet-- just to get you to look at the ads.

Charles of MercuryRising

PBI said...


With Kevin Martin running amok and giving the Senate the finger yesterday, I was fired up about the Hazinsky column before I read your post. Now I'm REALLY fired up. (But in a good way.)

Excellent post!

Sensen No Sen

Anonymous said...

Came here from C&L.

Boy was it worth the trip!

You just gave this pontificating A-hole his only legitimate reason for existence - that bitch slap was pure poetry! Without him for a foil, it would never have been written.

I feel for him tho - the first amendment must be scary as hell to someone who never actually encountered it in action before.

Got to be a really scary time for "journalists" too. Used to be that all the information we had access to was the predigested pap our local MSM wanted to feed us - now we have access to the real news. They are gonna have to adapt or die.

BTW, did anyone notice Harry Reid's little dismissive chuckle as he referred to the blogs in his explanation of his most recent sellout? (the FISA bill and telecom immunity - C&L has it)

He won't chuckle forever - the internet never forgets.

Anonymous said...

Feel free to tell that clown what you think and that he isn't thinking:

David Hazinski

Ashley said...

Or Duranty

Anonymous said...

By far an awesome response to the rediculous statement that mainstream journalism has somehow become more worthy of trust than normal people telling the truth.

Anonymous said...

This is one of those blog entries that makes life worth living.


Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention Pentagon "reporters," i.e., stenographers, Judith Miller and Michael Gordon.

When the announcement was made that Scott McClellan's book would include his statement that he was lied to by Bush, Cheney, Libby, Rove and Card, Miller was asked for her reaction. "You're only as good as your sources," she smirked.

In other words, as a REAL journalist, her only obligation was to talk to someone in a powerful position, not to check out what they told her.

I had an interesting email exchange with the Public Editor of the New York Times on that subject. I asked him whether, if Miller's standards were appropriate for a Times reporter, the Times could assert that it represented a higher level of journalism than a blog. The Public Editor's response? "Ms. Miller doesn't work here anymore."

Anonymous said...

Ditto what others said about the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It is among the worst newspapers in the country, devoted to pandering and the concept of "balance," by which people like this joker are able to publish fact-free diatribes without questioning by an editor. Basically, the paper stands for nothing. Every "liberal" opinion is automatically followed by a "conservative" one, literally.

The reporting is no different: Just print whatever anyone says without fact-checking.

Anonymous said...

Poor Hazinski. The standards of his beloved "professional" journalism have fallen so far under the influence of money that any yahoo with dial-up access can compete. Hazinski would like to believe that this is somehow the fault of the citizenry who care, rather than being a referendum on the uselessness of the Paperweight Class, his so-called professionals.

Anonymous said...

One of your best rants evah, Drifty!

And all those specific overpaid wankers you mentioned? My personal trainer let me know that they all use steroids.

Tom said...

I've known David for many years. He's actually a good guy. He's not thin-skinned by any stretch of the imagination, and I suspect if you avoid calling him an asshole in the first 30 words of any comments to him, he'll likely reply.

Unknown said...

Great post, Drifty. Koufax award material. But I say that a lot about you lately.

Tom, asshole is as asshole DOES. And Hazinski did. Royally. I doubt any reply of his would be worth the time it took to listen. He's totally bought into the fantasy that a degree actually gives you magical journanimalistic powers, not unlike a magic ring of power, and without it you are just a geek in the cellar using Mom's aol account when you should be applying for that job at Best Buy.

These guys mistake condescension for erudition. I attended a "New Media" conference at BU last October. The panelists were mainstream media types, journimalism perfessers, and lawyers, every last one. Not one blogger or "New Media" type among them. And as far as I could tell, not one was invited to participate, except for lunchtime speaker and BU alum Markos Moulitsas, who in his address did his best to piss everyone off, with predictable results.

Most of the sparkling bon mots at the after-lunch panels (for which Markos did not stick around) centered around what former Globe media critic and Mark "The Jerk" Jurkowitz called, with a knowing smirk, "Blogs vs. Fact-based journalism."

Jurkowitz likes to flog the fact that he's now Associate Director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism. Go figure.

Navvet55 said...

I see we are in agreement. This (the original column-not your post)caused me to burn the late night oil as I found it personally offensive and a cop out ta boot. I would wonder if in the spirit of this holiday season, the good professor might be receiving a visit from the Mike Royko (as the ghost of print media past).