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Everybody is NOT a journalist

June 24, 2014 - Paul Giannamore
Any regular visitors to this spot know that I believe journalism is best done by actual, paid, real, live reporters who started out taking obituaries and worked their way through a variety of assignments of increasing responsibility under the critical eyes of those who came before. And regular visitors know I regularly and routinely rail against the whole concept of a world populated only by people with iPhones popping pictures and commenting on everything they see, mistaking the ability to tell people something happened with the ability to interpret, understand, explain and place events into context.

In other words, the concept of me being replaced with “citizen journalists” is a world I don’t want to exist within, and not only because I’ll be out of a job.

Again, it comes back to experience, learning, being coached by and criticized under the eyes of those who’ve been here. Oh, and those crusty old folks in newsrooms also guide and mold and mentor, too.

And, I love it when my point gets drawn home by actual events, though I wonder if it will have any real, lasting meaning in a world where mayors of major American cities feel comfortable enough to utter an F-bomb while being happy for their city’s hockey team.

What’s it all about, Pablo?

Well, the folks who do the Daytime Emmys, where what’s largely the mindless sewage of TV gets honored, arranged for four “social media mavens” (in the parlance of the AP writer) to be the red-carpet hostesses and backstage interviewers for the Daytime Emmys pre-show. And they swore, told dirty jokes and generally displayed absolutely no knowledge about daytime TV, its stars, programs or content. Apparently social media reporters don't feel the need to bone up on what they cover before covering it.

But they were avant garde social media people, out there being edgy, which obviously made them more desirable and hip than some stodgy old newspaper or TV critic or reporter who covers the entertainment industry. They have big followings, after all. And, surely the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Emmys folks, saw their chance to be avant garde and hip and draw a younger audience.

According to, there was a casting call from the Academy to people aged 18 to 35 with web followings of 300,000 or more, to audition. (Whew. I’m eliminated on all counts!)

They made a rape joke toward a male actor. They asked a racially stupid question. Even fellow webizens with websites such as ripped on their coverage and unprofessionalism.

BTW, the male actor who was the focus of the rape joke said too much was being made of that compared with what the ladies said to an African-American actor about being a “beautiful chocolate man.” I believe there’s an NBA franchise at stake for such commentary.

Decorum is something that is either part of you or not, but it surely can be taught to some degree if someone is actually supervised and working for someone else who makes decorum a point.

Then again, maybe it’s just the world we live in. The always, in my opinion, somewhat disgusting Kathy Griffin (whose comedy escapes me) opened the actual awards ceremony with an F-bomb of her own.

Still, just because you yell loud enough or say enough outlandish things to be recognized as a Major Web Presence does not mean you’re ready for on-the-spot interviewing.

Anymore than any newspaper guy of the 1920s was ready for radio or any radio star of the 1940s was ready for TV. It’s about experience and training, man.


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