Sun, 11/23/2014 - 20:33

Posted by Belinda Alzner on August 22, 2012

Updated August 20, 2013

J-Source has compiled this vast list of resources for journalism instructors to use in their classrooms. We’ve broken it down into three categories: The Basics (reporting, writing, interviewing and ethics), Broadcast/Visual Journalism (audio, video and photography) and New Media (social media, blogging, data visualization and multimedia storytelling).



Seems to me there is a rather important part of this package missing - shouldn't there be  some kind of question right at the very beginning along the lines of 'What exactly is the role of a 'journalist' in contemporary Canada, or in our modern world?" This might be laughed off as 'too obvious to deal with' or something, but I would suggest that *what* so-called self-styled "professional journalists" are by and large doing these days is quite arguably not 'real" journalism at all, and is pretty directly related to the problems newspapers are having re losing readers that another part of this series gets into hand-wringing about. And certain people might not want to encourage this discussion, because an honest exploration of this subject is going to be getting into areas that I suspect a lot of people don't want to get into, as being somewhat at variance with the desired idea of those who control the media (and promoted quite hubristically by 'journalists' themselves regularly) that citizens believe that 'journalists' of great integrity fearlessly give Canadians all the information they need to understand what is going on in our country and world. As with so much we hear these days on the mainstream media, there are some rather different opinions to this self-flattery, along the lines of - the mainstream media, and the journalists who work therein, are quite obviously primarily involved with selling the capitalist/corporate message/agenda, whatever it happens to be - demonising foreign leaders they want to get rid of for geopolitical reasons, selling 'austerity', being enthusiastic advocates of capitalism and thus very much against the interests of the average working person/citizen, and any other things our corporate rulers want their subjects to do or believe.

'Real" journalists, of the IF Stone variety, for example, who believed their role was to keep a close eye on power and let the people know what Power would rather they didn't know, rather than serve it through spin and coverups and etc, would not be participating in any of these spin/coverup exercises, but would be asking some very hard questions about all of these things and other important issues about which there most certainly are differing perspectives and interpretations, and offering the people they supposedly worked for other very valid perspectives on all of these things, perspectives quite at variance with the corporate spin/agenda, understanding their job is not to 'sell' any particular agenda, but to provide citizens with enough information that they (the citizens) can decide themselves what the appropriate course of action is for *their* country. Of course, today, such 'real' journalists would not be, and are not, welcome in the message-very-controlled corporate media - but there are a lot of them to be read on the internet, and what they offer has a great deal more veracity for any truly 'eyes-open' thinking and engaged citizen than the mush and propaganda and spin that currently dominates the mainstream media. (it's one of the somewhat ironic memes of the mainstream media that they regularly insist that the internet is not to be trusted - but actually it is the mainstream media that is not to be trusted anymore, with their pretence of 'integrity' and 'professionalism' whilst promoting a specific, very unfriendly-to-the-people agenda and gatekeeping as they must in the support of this agenda - we KNOW there is a lot of crap on the internet, and that is fine, it's a great free Hyde Park Corner where everyone is allowed to express their opinions or offer their analysis of what is happening in our country and world - the internet does not try to censor voices it does not like, but lets everyone speak, and trusts the intelligent, engaged citizen to separate the wheat from the chaff - the mainstream media, on the other hand, has decided that THEY and they alone shall decide what is 'valid' opinion, what spin shall be presented with any given story, and shall *tell* the citizens what they should think about any particular situation, pretty much 'en masse' for all current  issues of any real  importance  (demonising Assad, pushing 'austerity', 'capitalism is great!', only idiots oppose 'free' trade, Canada is a great democracy!!, and etc - and no, or very marginalised at best, space shall be provided for people with opposing views, even if a majority of Canadians happen to agree with voices that dissent from the MSM  message (i.e. the media is almost completely in favor of lower corporate taxes and "free trade" and the deconstructing of 'our' country that goes along with such reduced taxes and corporate 'rights' to ravage as they will at home and abroad - most  Canadians do not agree with this, but that is the highly dominant message emanating from  the  MSM, who  are  working for who???? - again, is that the job of a 'journalist', promoting the corporate  agenda???? - or deciding that the citizens  are wrong about what they believe, and it is their job to 'educate' them, to encourage them to get with the program and follow their leaders passively? I don't think anyone most Canadians would call a 'real' journalist would believe that - but it is apparent that what people who call themselves 'journalists' believe is not always the same as what an average Cdn  would expect from the same 'journalist' ...)

I can understand how people working for the corporate media because they support the corporate agenda (you're not likely to be working for them otherwise) would not want to have this discussion - but are the main journalism schools now so corporate controlled they avoid it too?

I'd be happy to engage further, should anyone be interested - I do believe, along with most  other people who believe in  Democracy, that a strong and independent media is absolutely necessary to a strong  democracy - and I am very unhappy about what is happening with our current corporate media.

J-Source and ProjetJ are publications of the Canadian Journalism Project, a venture among post-secondary journalism schools and programs across Canada, led by Ryerson University, Université Laval and Carleton University and supported by a group of donors.