Facts, facts, facts…the one thing citizen journalists forget?

October 25, 2009

Great post here on the importance of fact-finding, fact-checking and why trained journalism still offers something the increasing army of citizen journalists, bloggers and forum commentators can’t give. The upshot? Trained journalists represent the reinforcement of fact-checking at its best: the power and credibility of a balanced, thorough and fact-checked editorial item.

Of course, the initial news value from a tweet, blog post, or forum item can lead journos towards a valuable investigation of an issue, but it’s the fact-checking process, the collation of facts and the trained execution of facts which makes the difference between an amateur piece of citizen journalism and a well-rounded, informative and thought-provoking piece of journalism.

One of the most concerning elements, for me, of untrained editorialists as I call them, is the rise in commentaries and the lowering in quality content. It seems that everybody’s got something to freakin’ say online these days. Progress?

The thing which makes a difference for me, as one who sits firmly in the ‘trained’ editorial camp, is that without the correct and professional usage of fact-collation, fact-checking and fact-integration into an editorial item, we’re left with a shabby represntation to the readership. At best, conjecture. At worst, fact-less content. Propoganda, as it used to be called.

Terrifying prospect, huh? Without the trained, fact-orientated journos in place, how can content remain at a premium?

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2 Responses to “Facts, facts, facts…the one thing citizen journalists forget?”

  1. […] Facts, facts, facts…the one thing citizen journalists forget? « Bristol Editor’s Blog "The thing which makes a difference for me, as one who sits firmly in the ‘trained’ editorial camp, is that without the correct and professional usage of fact-collation, fact-checking and fact-integration into an editorial item, we’re left with a shabby representation to the readership". I'd totally agree with the sentiment of this piece, if you couldn't point to example after example after example of where all of our national papers have simply not checked their facts. (tags: bristoleditorsblog factchecking citizenjournalism) […]

  2. bristoleditor said

    The sentiment is honourable, but unfortunately you’re right – errors, typos and inaccuracies are increasing across a number of media mediums.

    Consider, however, this.

    1000’s of journos made redundant in the last 18 months, yet the same amount of editorial work is portioned out to the remaining Hacks. The result?

    Further errors on ever-tightening editorial deadlines.

    I’m not backing the lazy, unprofessional, embittered journo who shouldn’t be in a newsroom in the first place, but simply pointing to the vast majority of journalists who strive to deal with mis-management of editorial resources whilst redundancy looms over them.

    Maybe collaborating with citizen journalists might deliver a more consistent level of news after all…

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