Center for Citizen Media Rotating Header Image

A Citizen Journalist at Logan Airport

Doc Searls: The Story of a Story. For what it’s worth, I didn’t think of myself as a reporter on the scene, even though, in a literal sense, I was. I thought of myself as a traveler blogging about being where news of some sort was going down, maybe. That’s not journalism as I’ve been taught to think about it over the last 40 years I’ve been doing it. But in a literal sense it was journalism. I was, after all, writing in a journal.

So I think the real story here is a slo-mo one that will go on for years. It’s the story of how journalism became a ordinary practice, rather than an exclusively professional one.

Exactly. Doc — who was heading home from Wikimania and our one-day citizen journalism unconference, performed an act of journalism. He witnessed something and told the rest of us what he was seeing.

It’s ordinary, but also extraordinary in the meaning for society in the long run.

3 Comments on “A Citizen Journalist at Logan Airport”

  1. #1 tish grier
    on Aug 14th, 2006 at 6:30 am

    I sometimes think that what we have going on is, in part, a re-naming of things by how they are used in new media. When I think about the projets I’ve done in the past six months–from publishing in print and online, to some “citizen journalism” on the DOPA legislation picked up on Daily Kos and Raw Story–it all makes me think that maybe, in some cases, what is “citizen journalism” is actually freelancing in a new medium.

    Which then begs the question–is a freelance journalist in new media (internte publications/blogs) less of a freelance journalist than someone who publishes in print? Or is the citizen journalist not a freelance journalist if he/she does not get paid for one’s work?

    Still, makes me think a bit, too, about the types of people who do these things–maybe it’s that there are more of folks who are journalists at heart than they themselves might have realized. It may not be that journalism is now part of the ordinary, but that there are more outlets for the “natural” journalist.

  2. #2 Jon Garfunkel
    on Aug 14th, 2006 at 9:29 pm

    Ugh. It’s difficult for me to measure Doc’s story. How many people were alerted by his reporting? What time did the local Boston affiliates catch this story? Who did it reach?

    What’s the lesson here? Should everyone tote their laptop and try to post to a blog when news is breaking? Doc had trouble doing that. Or is it more conveninent for people to take a picture, type out a text message, and send it to someone who can process it and broadcast it (i.e., New England Cable News)?

  3. #3 Seth Finkelstein
    on Aug 16th, 2006 at 6:50 pm

    By the way, just for the record, Doc Searls (wonderful guy that he is) is most assuredly not a “citizen” when it comes to journalism:

    “Searls has been a journalist since high school, both as an editor and as a freelance writer. His byline as appeared in OMNI, PC Magazine, Upside, The Globe & Mail, and (of course) Linux Journal, where he serves as Senior Editor.”