Monday, June 17, 2013

Journalism, Anyone?

Over the years, we've received several comments that what we do isn't real journalism. Never have we attempted to be a journalist, but we do consider ourselves quite adept at political commentary. We have no desire to be a journalist for three reasons:

1. They don't usually make enough money.
2. They aren't allowed to use the Oxford comma by AP style rules.
3. They are not usually allowed to publish their opinion.

Opinions are important; we should all read opinions that we know will be contrary to ours--we just might learn something. One of the most hilarious "fan letters" we ever received gushed about an article we wrote. It was one of the most interesting and well-presented works of writing this woman had ever encountered...until we got to the last paragraph and gave our opinion. That ruined the whole thing. We still laugh whenever we remember that particular missive.

Reading some recent articles in the TotallyDecatur, we decided to look into what it takes to be a journalist, as in acquiring a degree to give one that official title. Quite probably most schools have differences in curriculum, but here's one from a prominent university:

Writing: two courses required
Cultural diversity in the United States: one course required
Ethics and leadership: one course required
Global cultures: one course required
Independent inquiry: one course required
Quantitative reasoning: one course required

We're not sure how many writers for the TD actually have degrees in journalism. We're pretty sure they can't read street signs considering how far off geographically they are on many locations. Our favorite errors involve writers who have no idea where Florence Boulevard begins in the downtown area and those who write about the intersection of streets that run parallel to each other.

Then there's ethics; sometimes we see that and sometimes we don't. One article that comes to mind concerned the opposition of a local Baptist Church to selling beer at concerts at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. No matter how we felt personally about the sale of potables, we couldn't help but notice the author of the piece didn't say he even tried to contact church officials to publish their reasoning for the opposition. That would qualify as quite a slanted work that didn't publicize its intent in advance.

Of course, there's all those writing courses journalists must take. We noticed the fruit of these classes in a recent Bobby Bozeman article:

Food vendors will be on hands along with T-shirts being sold and the donations to the Old Railroad Bridge Company will be accepted.

We've read better in The Suburban News. 'Nuff said.


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