Journalism is the conversation. The conversation is journalism.

Jeff Jarvis
Whither news?
Published in
8 min readJan 27, 2019

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I am sorely disappointed in The New York Times’ Farhad Manjoo, CNN’s Brian Stelter, and other journalists who these days are announcing to the world, using the powerful platforms they have, that they think journalists should “disengage” from the platform for everyone else, Twitter.

No. It is the sacred duty of journalists to listen to the public they serve. It is then their duty to bring journalistic value — reporting, facts, explanation, context, education, connections, understanding, empathy, action, options— to the public conversation. Journalism is that conversation. Democracy is that conversation.

In a moment, I will quote from the late James Carey’s eloquent lessons on the primacy of the conversation in journalism. But first I want to observe, as I’ve written before, that these journalists’ pronouncements come from a position of extreme privilege. Manjoo has a column, Stelter a show where they can expose their worries to the world. If you are an African-American who is shopping or barbecuing or eating lunch or going into your own home when a white person calls the police on you, you do not have a newsroom of journalists who look like you who will tell your story because they, too, have lived it. The outlet you have is a hashtag on Twitter. These stories are now, finally, making it into mainstream media…

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Jeff Jarvis
Whither news?

Blogger & prof at CUNY’s Newmark J-school; author of Geeks Bearing Gifts, Public Parts, What Would Google Do?, Gutenberg the Geek