Journalism is not a participatory sport.
Despite the myriad ways technology has allowed us to connect more closely and frequently with our audiences, there are still boundaries.
We love hearing from you, we do. We often engage our readers in debate via social media to gauge the public’s temperature on a given subject, because without you, we’re just a bunch of words on a page.
But, citizen journalism is getting out of hand.
We put our names and faces on the line every time we hit ‘send’ and watch a story go live. We watch and brace for the scrutiny, with technology making it possible to reach more eyes and ears than ever before. We breathe deeply as the e-mails, social media comments and envelopes full of edited newspaper clippings arrive, telling us all the ways in which we fail at our jobs.
Here’s the thing – we’re human. But we are humans who trained to do this job and we’re doing it to the best of our abilities, given the unique pressures a 24-hour news cycle has posed to an industry that is working hard and continues to move forward.
Our ability to update a story on the web, as new information becomes available, does not equate to allowing random requests to rewrite our stories to suit another’s taste. Also, the ability to connect with us directly is not a licence to slam our names or our work. Those outside our industry may not be aware of factors that sometimes hinder our storytelling.
It’s become far too easy to scream ‘Fake News!’ when one doesn’t understand or agree with what they are reading or watching.
We’re not immune to critique – we welcome the constructive kind. We just humbly point out that we’re not showing up to point out “errors” in others’ work, so please leave the journalism to us, because we’re still pouring our blood, sweat and tears into it.