Citizen and Publication Journalism

Questioning who to write for is an issue that plagues many hopeful and aspiring journalists. Even those who don’t academically study the profession of journalism can still one day write in their chosen field. Who to write for, professionally or not, is a question which boils down to one of two choices: Publication or freelance work.

News International in front of the Select Committee / Speak No Evil See No Evil Hear No Evil. Source: Surlan Soosay

News International in front of the Select Committee / Speak No Evil See No Evil Hear No Evil. Source: Surlan Soosay

Consulting a small variety of peers, I questioned their motivations and aspirations as to whether they considered journalism to be a compelling career.

“I would feel a greater sense of job security writing under a specific publication”, Tabetha Rose Lane considered the main motivation behind her journalistic ventures. The journalism student continued that individually she would have no specific path, whereas a publication would give her a “stronger sense of direction.”

Arguing that this might reduce the individuality of a person’s writing, Tabetha responded that, “Maybe your work won’t be published or fully recognized or totally edited, but working as an independent journalist makes it seem more likely that your work would go unread.”

Lachlan Young, an Art’s student, considered the loss of individuality in his keen interest of history, “Yes, the idea of good journalism is something that an individual has experienced, and the loss of that might reduce the immersion that an audience might feel.”

Although relaying his idea of ‘good journalism’, Lachlan insists that individuality can become less important depending on the field that a writer is reporting on, “Science and technology innovations can have less preconceptions [of the author], but when someone is writing for a publication on Travel or something, it’s important they aren’t turning their piece into a blatant advertisement.”

“My goal with journalism is to write about things that matter to me, nothing tabloid related or celebrity-centric, but issues that affect [me]”, Elle Acunzo, another journalism student, argued her direction in writing. Labelling herself as more suited to independent journalism she responded to the risk of exposure, or lack thereof, writing for herself saying, “No, exposure doesn’t worry me. Having to work hard and create pieces that people will want to read, and leaving pieces open to discussion is enough, I think, to challenge and convince me to write.”

The issue of bias arose in our discussion where Elle stated, “I could definitely be more biased [being independent], but I like to consider and debate other’s opinions, the same way I would want my beliefs questioned and scrutinized.”

Catching up with political enthusiast (Arts student) Tom Carroll, I asked him about the recent metadata legislation and their effects on individual journalists stating, “I find it a bit ridiculous. There’s no definition as to what defines a journalist, so whatever protection that might be offered to journalists working professionally, might not be afforded to ‘bloggers’ or other citizen journalists.”

Asking him if he was compelled to write for a publication, would he conform to their opinions professionally, Tom referenced the recent Scott McIntyre incident stating, “Even if you work for a publication, you’re still held accountable for your opinions, and when your opinions conflict with your employer’s, there’s not much in the way of protection as we’ve seen.”

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