Veteran CBS news man Morley Safer recently trashed blogging and other forms of "new media." In our view, Safer was way off base.
If Safer wanted to trash something that probably deserves trashing, he should scrutinize what we call the "citizen journalism movement."
What is the citizen journalism movement? It consists of folks like Dan Gilmour, Jeff Jarvis, and Amy Gahran, who have blogs that purport to discuss and promote citizen journalism.
But when the "rubber meets the road" in citizen journalism, these folks seem to be missing in action.
What do I mean? Well, consider this scenario: Someone practices citizen journalism and exposes corruption that has statewide, regional, even national implications. The citizen journalist then is cheated out of his job at a public university by political forces that want to shut him up.
It's hard to imagine a more compelling issue in citizen journalism. And it just happens to describe exactly what has happened to me.
And yet when I contacted Gilmour, Jarvis, and Gahran to let them know about my experiences, I didn't receive as much as a courtesy brushoff.
Why is that? I suspect it's because they see my site as "partisan" and me as a "liberal." And just like their brethren in the mainstream press, they are terrified of being labeled as the "liberal media."
Of course, if these so-called experts on citizen journalism actually looked at my site, they would see it's not partisan at all. It started because of corruption I had witnessed, not from any desire to promote one party or another.
Any partisan tone comes from the fact that the wrongdoers in my personal story, with one or two exceptions, have been Republicans. Those are just the facts, and they dovetail with the corruption we've seen on the national stage from the George W. Bush administration.
I don't expect Gilmour & Co. to "solve" the problems I've encountered from practicing citizen journalism. But if they aren't going to report on such cases, at least a little bit, what is their purpose?
From reading their work, it appears Gilmour & Co. attend a lot of conferences and scratch their chins quite a bit about various heady issues. But if they aren't going to address the challenges real-life citizen journalists can face, what are they really trying to accomplish?