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Technology and Pseudo-Journalism
[Opinion] A citizen reporter yearns for the old days of shoe leather and sources
Bhumika Ghimire (bhumika1)     Print Article 
  Published 2006-10-16 11:18 (KST)   
If you look into the Merriam Webster's dictionary, it tells you that a journalist is one who is involved in collecting and editing of news for presentation through the media. A look into today's news media and you can tell the journalism is an endangered craft.

With developing information technology bringing the world to you, the old ways of journalism are changing.

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There is the rise of "desktop journalism," aided by search engines and the Internet itself. Just search for a particular topic or nation, gather information and write it up in your words, cite the sources and you are ready to claim the title of journalist.

In the past, journalists had to dig around town for news. Nowadays the news comes to you.

Yes, there is someone who posts the news on the Internet in the first place, but it is likely that that person is a local resident. The practice of sending journalists to foreign countries is declining.

I was forced to think about journalism because I am going through a dilemma about the profession. Am I a journalist?

Writing about Afghanistan, Central Asia, Islam and Middle East is something I have wanted to do for years. The only problem is that I have never been to Afghanistan, Central Asia or Middle East, I am a non-Muslim and by training I am a computer programmer.

So what credentials do I have to call myself a journalist, when all I do is research about my topics online? Do my opinions on the Middle East have any credibility since I have never been to the region? How can I say what is right and what is wrong in Central Asia when all I have done is read about the region.

You see, a real journalist's observations are backed up with relevant experience in the area he/she is writing about. In my case, all I have is second hand information. I doubt if I am at liberty to make comments or express an opinion.

Sadly, I am not the first or the last to practice pseudo-journalism. There are many playing with second hand information, trying to get something out of it. Calling ourselves "commentators" is safe but lacks merit since we are not in position to comment.

Is pseudo-journalism even a problem or just a new way of practicing the craft?

Looking into the question from a pseudo-journalist's position, I have to say that the world of journalism has changed. This is the way the craft will be practiced, since developments in technology have molded it in this way.

But as an idealist who grew up admiring war reporters and those who traveled far and wide in search of information, I wish we could bring back the old days.

- Technology and Pseudo-Journalism by Bhumika Ghimire (Read by Claire George) 

©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Bhumika Ghimire

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