About 700 thousand Palestinians have recently joined the press profession. They are carpenters, bakers, physicians, engineers and workers.
They are citizen journalists who are getting ahead of the traditional professionals whether in writing or in audiovisuals. They also many times precede news professionals in transmitting the news of an event.
Even prominent TV stations and newspapers might prefer their low quality pictures because they have been shot at the center of the events.
Sometimes they are the only available pictures.
Even inaccurate information is sometimes preferable because it comes so fast and responds to the keenness of spectators for quick information.
And they care less for slogans regarding the rules, principles and ethics of the profession. And why would they care?
Social media has dropped all rules and conditions of the profession. The tool for documentation is available and the channels for transmission are open for all and for free. Holding to classical patterns of journalism is no more feasible.
Eloquent pen, crystal clear picture and accurate information will not pass the test of speedy scoops; while any ordinary person with a smartphone who happens to be at the place of the event in the right time will prove successful.
How should the professional journalists react to this?
There are few solutions left for the journalists to maintain their job, one of which is directing those neo-journalists to serve the public by grouping them in one channel and granting them the right to publish with minimal supervision in order to organize the process and guarantee minimum standards of credibility.
One of the most successful experiments in this regards is ‘Pal Press – Zello’. It even excelled the model of ‘Nabd’ App which gathered the media outlets in one channel but not the journalists as such.
Another solution is to resort to the press story. This cannot be produced by an ordinary person because it is based on in-depth research, energetic sequential filming, dramatic plot, human touch. It is also based on providing the visual and sensory delight of living an event in its beginnings and developments where the sample of news provided by bakers, millers, engineers and workers falls short of doing this.
Source: Modified excerpts from an article Journalists are in trouble published on Shasha News network, by journalist Abdel-Hafeez Ja’awan, correspondent of Al-Arabia TV in Palestine.