Who is a Journalist?

This is the first question asked of students in JRN 101. And in today’s world of tweeting, buzzing and everything else it’s a question that needs to be answered.

There are many different types of “journalists.” There are the traditional type, a reporter at a newspaper or TV station who was trained at a journalism school or on the job.

But now there are bloggers, people who aggregate news through social networks.  There is the pro-am model, where amateur journalists write a story and have it edited by professionals. This is not a model I am a fan of because amateur journalists can make a lot of mistakes that could come back and kick them in the butt.

Then there comes blogs. Blogs haven’t been around that long but they outnumber newspapers.  But are bloggers journalists?

Well they think they are. According to a study released by PR Week and PR Newswire, 52 percent of bloggers think of themselves as journalists.

So is Perez Hilton a journalist?

Before you freak out, no he’s not. But I have to hand it to him for creating something that brings in money. I don’t know how he operates, but if he follows journalistic ethics and treats a story about Lindsay Lohan the same as one about Afghanistan, then he is a type of journalist.

I wouldn’t go to that site for my only source of news. But it does have news, just not always the news you need to know.

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