What does it mean to be a journalist?

Dr. Ivan Oransky raised the question but, in quite an engaging and interesting speech, managed not to answer it. Oransky, editor of The Scientist and adjunct professor at NYU’s Department of Journalism addressed an audience of teachers  gathered in Robert Frost Hall at Southern New Hampshire University,  Manchester, NH for the Leadership Teacher Real World Education Conference.

What he did do was bring a mostly uninformed audience up to date on the effects the internet has had on traditional journalism while pointing out the ramifications of the micro news cycle journalists now compete in within a virtual wild west created by the explosion of blogging.  To do that he shared a number of stories to illustrate his points that he hoped would engage the audience of k-12 teachers.

During the question and answer session following his lecture presentation, Oransky was asked what journalists who are trained to understand conflict of interest, transparency and full disclosure, are doing to fight back against unscrupulous posers on the internet.
“Not enough,” Oransky said.  He is probably right, but if he is that is a travesty. Traditional journalism has principles and standards that set its work above unethical writers. In schools and through media outlets with scruples, readers must be trained to recognize the evil vapors in cyber space.


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