‘Journalist’ with a capital ‘J’

I came across this article today about the Iraq war and in particular, how deadly it has been for journalists.

But one landmark which passed virtually unnoticed was that the Iraq conflict has become the deadliest by far for the media trying to cover it, with more than 200 journalists killed to date. To put this in perspective, two were killed in the First World War, 68 in the Second, 77 in Vietnam and 36 in the Balkans. And the toll in Iraq shows no sign of declining. It is, if anything, rising. Five journalists were killed in separate attacks in just one day last month. “Covering Iraq,” says Chris Cramer, the president of CNN International, ” is the single most dangerous assignment in the history of journalism.”

Among many things, this article really drives home the point that as much as ‘citizen journalism’ has been talked about, blogged about and become a buzzterm in the web 2.0 paradigm, it really is bogus. Citizens are not journalists. Citizens can be storytellers, citizens can record original footage of news, citizens can have opinions, offer spin and frame debate, but at the end of the day – citizens are not journalists. Journalists are journalists. Journalists are trained, highly skilled news gatherers and communicators who make their living and in many cases, put their lives in harms way to get a story told. After reading that article, I can understand even more why a trained journalist might cringe when someone uses the term ‘citizen journalism’. That’s one web 2.0 term that needs to make its way to the deadpool in a hurry.