Jay Rosen has been ruminating on the positives and negatives of a recent trend among some Webloggers to “adopt” a particular journalist and deconstruct that person’s reporting on a regular basis. Most of the ones I’ve seen so far have been motivated by politics (not necessarily politically motivated,) and I think it’s potentially an interesting idea to bring into my classroom on some level. Since my journalism II class starts in a couple of weeks, I’m trying to figure out a few different topics for them to blog about, and this deep reading and thinking exercise might fit. As Jay says
Observation is a discipline. It takes care. It improves with practice. It brings your mind down to the sensuous details of the case. (For example, a journalist’s tone.) Tracking reportage will, I think, be an education for those who do it– in fact, it is journalism education, in which all enrolled are to be self-taught by November. I am strongly in favor of that.
I know I have said this before, but I love watching the way all of this is evolving. I’m not sure we’re going to get to the point where every reporter has a widely read blogger fact checking his or her behind, but just the mere fact that “ordinary” citizens who feel so compelled can now find an outlet for their motivation to add to the record on a potentially meaningful scale is a significant change. Is there potential for abuse here? Sure, and Jay correctly worries about what those motivations may be. But I think that the more opportunities we can provide for people to exercise their freedoms of speech (whatever remain) to a wider audience is a good thing. And besides, the knuckleheads who do try to abuse it won’t sustain much of an audience anyway.