Everybody’s a journalist. I know I don’t need to explain this phenomenon to you. Anyone who isn’t living under a rock knows that the decades-long explosion of the internet, social media and infotainment has made everyone with a phone, tablet or laptop a writer, editor and publisher.
The need to share personal views on everything—no matter how misinformed—has spread like a virus. No need to call the doctor. There is no cure. But is the plague of self-publishing a blessing or a curse? No matter how snarky I sound, I honestly can’t decide.
So, let’s talk curse first. As someone who went to school to be a writer and worked as a professional journalist for several years, I admittedly sometimes roll my eyes at the bevy of “journalists” out there. (If you didn’t imagine me making majorly emphatic air quotes with that last statement, you should have.) I don’t mind the extra competition in the marketplace because if you’re good, you’re good; but I do mind when said “journalists” start to work for squat, making the value of real journalism dwindle. (Note that I am referring to work for advertising-supported trade and consumer properties, not blogs and the like.)
The other part of the curse is having to combat “fake news.” (Omigod, did I just quote Trump?) When there are people out there publishing whatever their heart desires without vetting or editing anything, it just adds to the pool of misinformation that real journalists are forced to wade through.
But therein also lies the blessing. I’ll be the first to rally behind freedom of speech, and therefore, how can I complain about the growing arsenal of platforms available for people to speak their minds? Maybe all of the information and knowledge and opinions that are now being shared only add to and benefit our collective consciousness. Maybe there is indeed no harm in anyone saying what they’d like? Like I said, I can’t decide.
What do you think? Blessing or curse? I’m inviting you to be a, um, journalist on the topic.
Please sign up to receive email updates on my home page, and I promise to share with you strategic communications tips, tricks and the occasional semi-relevant, nonsensical blabbering.