Another Chapter in “What’s Journalism? What’s Not?”

Newspaper rolled upThe American Press Institute recently released results gleaned from a survey of more than 10,000 individuals with degrees in either communications or journalism.

Some of the results don’t seem all that surprising. For instance, far more respondents believe the quality of the news they receive is declining. And I am heartened by the fact that, according to the findings, most don’t think much of “sponsored content” (we called these advertorials in the not-so-long-ago). This is a dangerous, borderline unethical trend designed to blur lines between real journalism and, well, fake journalism.

One finding from the “What are these people thinking” department: Quoting from the study, “Fully 17% of these graduates who are employed by commercial brands consider their work journalism, as do 19% of those in politics, government and think tanks, 34% of those who describe themselves as entrepreneurs and 20% of those who work for technology companies.”

Oh, please. If you work for a “commercial brand” (known in the real world as a private company), you are not practicing journalism. The same applies if you work in politics, at a think tank, or as an entrepreneur. You may offer valuable opinions or insights, but by no stretch of the imagination is it journalism. I’ll admit that there are some increasingly blurry lines with respect to what is, and is not, journalism. Churning out copy for a private firm is nowhere near that line.

No matter your view on the matter, the API survey is a must read for those with an interest in the journalism community.


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