Thursday, June 25, 2009
Professional Journalism may turn out to be a transitory phenomenon, like the video rental store.
Before the late 19th century most reporting was done by actual participants. Explorers, sailors and soldiers sent back reports of what they had seen. Commercial travelers and diplomats recorder their memoirs or sent messages home that might be published. The role of the Publisher in print, broadcast or online is now that of an aggregator of independent contractors. This is a return to tradition.
Years ago I watched a conference in the University of Chicago's Harper Library on the Future of Broadcast Journalism where I wanted to ask if this was the going to happen. I remember that the professional journalists even then were devoted to the twin themes of institutionalism and credentialing. No one wanted to hear my question.