Another Chance for Journalists to Navel-gaze

The International Press Institute is holding a World Congress in Vienna and Bratislava on September 11-14, 2010. The title of their congress is “Thinking the Unthinkable: Are We Losing the News?” It appears to be yet another hand-wringing event where journalists talk to journalists about journalism.

Here is one session I found especially interesting: Special Presentation: “IPI Report on a News Future and the Future of the Journalism Profession” Presentation of a special report on the future of the news industry and the impact of emerging new media and technologies on the journalism profession itself. Moderator: Michael Lang, Editor-in-Chief, APA – Austria Press Agency, Vienna.

How many of these events are journalists, journalism professors and others with a vested interest in the legacy media going to hold? There seems to be a new one every week or so – usually held in a lovely place where the hotels are grand and the ambiance is exquisite.

When are journalists going to stop talking to journalist about the future of journalism? When is someone going to DO SOMETHING about the situation? Whining and bellyaching about the demise of their profession won’t slow its demise.

My suggestion is that they all take a few minutes and go to the Society of Professional Journalists website and re-read their own code of ethics, then ask themselves how good they are doing at abiding by them.

The answer to their problem will be found there – not at Vienna, Bratislava or any other exotic venue to convene yet another naval-gazing, self-loathing, blame-placing conference, congress or symposium that achieves nothing.

Dr. Ron Ross is the co-author of “Handbook for Citizen Journalists” and the co-founder of the National Association of Citizen Journalists.

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