Everyone is a Journalist

Lesson Details

Subject: Journalism

Title: Everyone is a Journalist


Not everyone can become a brain surgeon.

It takes years of training, and after that, you have to pass a bunch of exams and get licensed/

While some countries, notably the more repressive ones, license journalists, mostly as a way to control the press, free Western societies don't.

We like a free press. A free press is fundamental to a free and open society.  In the United States, the First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees a free press.  That means that anyone is free to publish, without the need for a state sanctioned license.

The foundation of successful journalism is credibility.

If you publish things that are wrong or biased, you will lose your credibility. You may continue to publish, but no one will care what you have to say.

In this series of lessons, we are going to teach you what it means to be a great journalist.

What are the basic rules of good journalism?

How can you be sure someone is telling you the truth?

What is a balanced report?

What are your responibilities as a journalist?

And of course, how do you make a living as a journalist?


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When I went to school, there were two kinds of people. There were math nerds and there were non-math nerds and I was definitely a non-math nerd. When I got calculus I didn’t know what the hell they're talking about water goes in the bathtub at a rate goes out of the bathtub at a rate, I was lost. So I never got into math which was fine because those of who didn’t get into math got into language arts, English language, literature and stuff like that which was great. That's how we became journalists. Math nerds didn’t become journalists they became programmers. 

Now the funny thing when the Internet came along was the Internet was dominated by the math nerds. Nothing personal if you’re a math nerd it's a skill I could never acquire but when the Internet revolution started and the digital revolution started the revolution is really captured by people who could write code and people who could write code were people like Bill Gates who were really good at math but were kind of nerdy. The result was that the Internet has been dominated and created and architected by people who are essentially engineers. Not that it’s wrong with that but engineering and creativity don't necessarily go together. The first thing that the Internet ate up in a major way was the world of journalism. That is the world of acquiring and processing and putting out information. 

It should have been ours, ours as journalists. It should have been ours as people who had an interest in creative things, not math things, not engineering things but it wasn’t we messed up. We lost our chance. We surrendered it to the engineering and math nerds. The result was that we created an Internet which works extremely well but it’s not particularly gravitated or geared towards creativity. Now it's time for us to take it back. It's time for us to recapture what should've been ours originally.  

The Internet happened on our watch and we lost control of it. If you want to see where he lost control of it look at the vanishing newspapers, magazines, TV stations all the media companies that are compressing because they don't understand the Web and so they hire a bunch engineers to come in and these guys don't care about creativity. They don’t care about content and the result is the thing rolls on not really paying attention to it. So here’s your moment. The Web's been built, the software is there but there's a vacuum here in terms of creativity and content. That's what we’re learning how to do here and the rules aren’t that hard. 

You don't have to learn the process code. You don’t have to be a math nerd. You don’t have to know calculus and you don't have to care how what happens when water comes into a bathtub at a certain speed and goes on another speed as long as you don't overflow and flood the house. What you do have to care about is compelling creative content and that's what we’re going to teach you how to do here. So if you wrap your head around this thing you can own the Web and there's a lot of stuff that goes along with that kind ownership.

© Michael Rosenblum & Lisa Lambden 2015