Marketplace Scratch Pad

So, you wanna be a journalist, huh?

Scott Jagow Jun 29, 2009

I don’t mean as a career. Who would want to do that? I mean, be a citizen journalist, the new buzz phrase that describes the people “formerly known as the audience,” as journalism professor Jay Rosen puts it. Today, YouTube launched a project to teach people how to report, using video instruction from well-known journalists. Some of it is weird.

The project is called YouTube Reporter’s Center. There, you’ll find “How to Conduct a Good Interview” with Katie Couric. NPR’s Scott Simon gives tips on how to tell a story. Bob Woodward has insight on investigative journalism. There are a couple dozen videos available so far.

Then, there’s New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff explaining how to cover a global humanitarian crisis. “Never argue with people with large guns,” is one piece of advice. And “there’s no point in getting a great interview with a warlord, if afterwards, he kills you and takes your video recorder.”

Thank you, Nicholas. I feel kind of dumb that I went to college to learn that.

I suppose having YouTube video-educated citizen journalists is better than having citizen journalists running around, booking interviews with warlords and then getting killed afterwards.

What do you think of this? Here are a couple of the videos I mentioned:


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