New wave of local journalists sweat old rights and wrongs

The world of online journalism often gets a bad rap from traditionalists, who fear for the soul of the profession, wherever that may be. Web-only news sites are the places where unlicensed drivers get behind the wheel, rumors are news, and clandestine videos, shrewdly edited to embarrass, are posted as if they’re documentary records.

The new wave practitioners are criticized as hasty and reckless, slaves to mob sentiment and their funders’ wishes. They’re too impatient to verify, and have only the vaguest commitment to public service. If traditional ethics has been a tragedy, contemporary ethics is a farce.

That, at least, has been the rap among some of us, and since I’ve done my share of finger-wagging I was eager to see a timely report from American University’s new media incubator, J-Lab, subtitled “Navigating the New Ethics of Local Journalism.” It’s about what this new generation thinks about professional rights and wrongs, and it’s based on lengthy interviews with 17 top players whose local Continue reading “New wave of local journalists sweat old rights and wrongs”