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This is the problem I deal with every time I talk to a new group of people, students especially. Who are they, what do they want, why do they all keep looking at me?  (This is a post from the blogging seminar for UBC journalism students)

Mostly, it’s because I look funny.  No, that’s just what I worry about the night before.  Mostly, it’s because I’m in front of them, making noise.

But seminars like these are often more like lectures, and I’ve always been a little more into conversation.  Where do they surf for news?  Where do they spend their time when they’re not in front of the computer?  Do they download music from iTunes (now in Canada) or from file sharing networks (legal in Canada)? How many own cell phones with digital cameras?

How many of them are in journalism because they love to write? How many because they love to snoop? And how many because they love to hear their name over the airwaves or in print?

Oops, gotta talk, back in a while.  If you’re a journalism student reading this—please answer in the comments.


“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play with variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?







Hello Travis!

Student Jhenifer Pabillano here. Thanks for the insightful talk this lunchtime. A question jumped into my mind at the end of the talk that I didn't quite get to ask: What, ultimately, sets apart the journalist from the blogger? What unique talents are a journalist endowed with that a blogger could never touch? I guess I'm curious because it speaks to the utility of journalists in the future--if bloggers could do what journalists do, then there may be a case for worry. But if journalists have singular talents that could never quite be emulated by bloggers, then bully for the newspapers.

Anyway, any comment on this would be terrific.



Posted by Jhenifer
  at 1:30 pm on Oct. 16, 2005




Here's an identical question: What sets snowboarders apart from being journalists? Nothing.

If a blogger does what a journalist does, I believe he too is a journalist. However, in the earlier context, I was talking about "journalists working for traditional media outlets and publishing in traditional ways, such as newspapers, TV, radio, and online news sites."

Journalists have singular talents, and they can blog. Or bloggers can learn how to be journalists through training or hard experience or (rarely) through innate natural tendencies.

There will be a role for journalists in any society that has freedom of information, or needs it. Whether blogging would be allowed in an oppresive future, is not as clear.


Posted by Travis Smith
  at 2:02 pm on Oct. 16, 2005




China is certainly cracking down on Internet sites (including blogs) that do not "promote its democratic aims", i.e. the party line. But in some sense it might be easier (and more anonymous) to be a blog-based journalist in an oppressive environment, rather than attempting to use traditional publishing methods.


Posted by Wes
  at 10:44 am on Oct. 18, 2005

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