Whenever people discuss how journalism is changing, one of the most common questions is: “Who is a journalist today and who isn’t?”
It’s the wrong question.
In an age when publishing has gone from being an industry to a button, as theorist Clay Shirky has put it, anyone might commit an act of journalism given the right circumstances.
The more pertinent question, then, is what constitutes an act of journalism.
Bill Kovach and I have considered this question in several of our books together, particularly “The Elements of Journalism” (a thoroughly new edition is coming next spring). Now, Poynter’s Kelly McBride and I, along with a dozen other thinkers, have taken up this issue in a new book called “The New Ethics of Journalism: Principles for the 21st Century.”
The work explicitly attempts to update a set of ethical guidelines, “Guiding Principles for Journalists,” developed by The Poynter Institute in the 1990s under the leadership of Bob Steele.… Read more