Something in one of this week's readings, "Citizens' media gets richer" by OJR's J.D. Lasica, struck me as particularly interesting.
Lasica quotes Michael Tippett, founder of NowPublic.com: "The big news organizations always say, we have journalism school grads and Pulitzer Prize winners and people trained in the craft. Fair enough, but you have two people on the story, and we already may have 20 or 50. What happens when we have 2,000 people covering that story? There will come a point where they can't compete," he says.
(To read Lasica's complete story: http://www.ojr.org/ojr/stories/090805lasica/index.cfm.)
Is it true that two professional, experienced reporters can't compete with 2,000 citizen journalists? If so, why is there a need for staff reporters at all? News organizations could rely entirely on the public for content.
I would argue that even 2,000 citizen journalists are not necessarily better than two veteran reporters. While I believe in the importance of citizen journalism as part of the news--I agree with Lasica that it adds "emotional depth and first-hand experience"--it cannot be the only source of news.
Yes, there are many "regular people" who write and photograph beautifully, and I hope the public continues to benefit from their talent. But I think it would be going too far to say that a small number of Pulitzer Prize winners cannot compete with dozens, even hundreds, of "regulars."
I'd be interested to hear your opinions on this.