As some of you may know, I had a long, respected, award-winning career as a broadcast journalist prior to law school – heck, even during law school and beyond. I was honored to have worked side-by-side with some of the greats like Cameron Swayze, Mitch Lebe, Stan Z. Burns, Chris Borgen and Stan Brooks and I learned from each of them more than they will ever know. We were in the trenches together like when the first bombing occurred at the World Trade Center or when John F. Kennedy Jr.’s plane went missing. There were many other shoot-outs, murder trials and everyday NYC calamities along the way and we covered them all. I remember staying up all night and into the next morning for the 2000 Presidential election and went home, all of us did, still not knowing who won. Only days later did we learn that some guy named “Chad” hung up the whole thing!
The point is that I worked with and learned from the finest, most accomplished journalists in the field. I distinguish them here and won’t bother to list all of the AP, UPI, RTNDA, Pulitzer and/or International Radio Awards we won jointly, as a team, or individually. However, what brought them to mind is once again facing the issue of bloggers versus true writers in cyberspace.
I have discussed this here before and shudder each time someone throws up a diatribe of what they ate for breakfast or where they went on vacation with Aunt Suzy and then thinks of themselves as a journalist. Once you start receiving payment for your writing and want to be considered as a professional writer then you need to buck up, suck it up and start taking some professional criticism. That means meeting deadlines and interacting with editors who do have final control of the output. That’s a fact of life.
I did not always agree with each editor who made me change a tense……..or insert a fact………..or delete an entire colorful reference…………but the fact of the matter is that each one of them made me a better writer and I am still learning. Bloggers, on the other hand, should not consider themselves “citizen journalists” if they cannot take the heat, which in the long run would make them better writers. Perhaps, it’s because some of them should stick to writing grocery lists.
I cherish the freedom of expression we have here in this country. It is a double-edged sword in this new frontier of cyberspace because there is a bunch of babble now being spouted from the tower and the minions are left to siphon through the nonsense and separate the wheat from the chaff. In the world of professional journalism, that’s the editor’s job! (They probably would’ve made me delete the sophomoric references in this paragraph alone!)
Put it this way: Journalists write and bloggers write and some should exercise the mandatory right to remain silent!