10 reasons (or more) to be a jolly journalist

A thick veil of gloom is slowly blanketing journalism. From resembling Clark Kent and Tintin in their youth, journalists now look more like Jason Blairs, untrustworthy information distorters. Layoffs, shorter deadlines and declining ad revenues are adding to the pessimism of the trade. To feel better, some of them even fake readership data.

We stand against this trend. We are sure that journalism is getting better and stronger by the day. And that journalists will benefit from this.

More than just a big vent session for happy or angry journalists, we want to list the reasons why journalism is going in the right direction. Why it’s easier than ever for young journalists to access sources. Why journalists have more power than ever against their editors. Why journalists will have a more positive impact on society.

This is why the Online Journalism Blog team created JollyJournalist.com, a place where you can tell the world why you think that these are good times to be a journalist. We’ve added ten reasons to get you started below. Once you’re done reading them, please head over to JollyJournalist.com to comment on them or add your own!

Spread the joy !

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Copy and embed in your blog!

Oh, and the more people participate, the jollier it gets – so please help us spread the word by blogging about JollyJournalist.com or also by putting our nifty badge on your site!

1. The power of organisation without an organisation. Social networks allow you to find people with the same interests, with different abilities and a commitment to the same goals – regardless of location or status. The news team is no longer within the same four walls, they can change with each story.

2. Write what you want and build a personal brand. Your editor doesn’t like what you have to say? Start a blog and post it there – if it’s interesting and well written, the world will notice.

3. Be the paperboy. That’s actually better than it sounds: As a journalist, you can now also take care of the distribution of your content – and decide whether you want it to be an article, a blog post, a video, a podcast or whatever.

4. The death of churnalism. News is consumed in such a way that commoditized wire content can be delivered at zero marginal cost. There’s no need for rewriting. Journalists can focus on fact digging and analysis.

5. Information like it’s Christmas. Google allows for journalists to get information without having to go the library. Most importantly, scholarly data and free-to-use databases offer the critically-minded with thousands of references to build an argument and add value to an issue.

6. Whistleblowers at arm’s length. Wikileaks and the like have made it really easy for people with sensitive information to bypass censorship and reach a journalist. That means more insider information in the newsroom.

7. Real-time fact-checking. Interviewing a politician who’s bluffing you with tons of statistics? Ask her to quote the source and confront her to Google on your 3G cell-phone.

8. Ask people who actually know something. Browsing blogs or academic work gives you access to hundreds of contacts in just a few clicks. The address book isn’t nearly as valuable as it used to be, therefore opening up the profession. (OK, political journalists not included).

9. Interview the world for free. Skype means free interviews for freelancers. What’s more, asynchronous e-mail interviews mean you can get answers from New-Zealand while sitting comfortably at your desk in Europe.

10. Feedback that’s not from mom. Reading comments, blog-searching or twitter-watching let you see what others are saying about your article or your area of expertise. You know when you do well. And when you need to improve.

(We also have a French version and a Czech version!)

By Paul Bradshaw, Nico Luchsinger and Nicolas Kayser-Bril

27 thoughts on “10 reasons (or more) to be a jolly journalist

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  3. Teach_J

    How do you post a comment on Jolly Journalist? I don’t get the question – I’ve tried a bunch of famous journalists. Maybe I’m missing something.

  4. Pingback: Reasons to be a jolly journalist « Groves Media

  5. Linda

    Yay for jolly journalists – there are too many miserable old sods in this profession! Yay for being the papergirl and not crashing into a lamp post, that’s what I say. Will blog later.
    Good one.

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  7. Jeremy Head

    Yeah… all very nice. If money didn’t come into the equation it would be a great time to be a journalist. Unfortunately most of us need to pay the rent and whilst being jolly might make you feel a bit better, it won’t keep your bank manager happy.

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  12. Craig McGill

    I’d need to take objections with a couple of those points:

    1) Point 2 – You print stories that the editor spiked/didn’t like and he finds out? At luckiest, you’ll get a bollocking. At worst, sacked – and that’s before the copyright issues.

    2) Point 4 talks about no more need for rewriting – for a lot of journalists rewrites (and sub-editors) make a story better.

  13. paulb

    @Craig point 2 – perhaps it’s badly phrased: the point is, the editor isn’t the only arbiter of quality. Point 4 you misunderstand: it’s saying that rewriting press releases becomes a redundant part of the job. And OK, they may be in dire need of a rewrite, but hey, there’s more important things to write about.

  14. Craig McGill

    Yeah, I would go with what you say there about point 4, but that comes back to the fact that so many press releases are – as you point out – terribly written (not mine of course 🙂 )

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  20. Journa Liz S. Ramirez

    Jolly Journalist, never heard of this before; but this is fun. I too is a journalist, not just by name but in profession. And I consider my self to be a jolly journalist 🙂 But I don’t practice journalism full-time: I teach the principles instead.
    To add to your list on how to be a jolly journalist, I say: 11. Enter the world of blogging and explore how to be a blogger and a journalist at the same time. It’s quite intriguing, knowing that the the two are totally different from each other. I am having a hard time to blog yet at the same time stick on the rules of journalism. But it is fun! I learn another style of writing — blogging (or journalistic blogging, if I may say) 🙂

  21. craigevans

    I think as an industry we should all be very worried. The problem is that sales and revenue have become more important than investigation and objectivity. What power does the media have if these are the priorities that we have to adhere to?

  22. aaron fleszar

    Has investigative journalism died?

    I wasn’t sure where to post this, it’s of critical importance though that intelligent people read this and understands it. The future for America is in jeopardy. Whether you’re motivated to become a highly paid journalist, make a name for yourself, or become a part of history, in order to live in a free democratic society, I urge you to read this, draw your own conclusions, and share it with the world.

    My name is Aaron Fleszar, you don’t know me, but the story I want to share with you is 100% true. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. Whether you believe me or not, I ask that you read this all the way through, because there’s plenty to research and form your own opinion.

    In March of 2008 I cracked a code online that is written across thousands of websites. These websites are selling every money making opportunity you can think of, from mystery shopping, to paid surveys, to every aspect of affiliate marketing and affiliate marketing education. By making fun of a group of scam artists, I discovered that this group is enormous, highly sophisticated, and positioned to make billions by destroying the US economy. They are Al-Qaeda.

    When I first cracked this code I reported it to the FBI. A number of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists make up this code. For example, Wanted Seif al-Adel is claiming to be Mark Joyner and Noordin M Top is claiming to be Armand Morin wanted for the financing of Al-Qaeda. The code is made up of aliases with some political overtones, look a likes of CEO’s, and media moguls. It’s sophisticated, it’s dynamic, and if there was anything remotely easy about breaking it, the feds would have done it long before me.

    Without going into great detail and allowing you to follow up on the code itself, I’ll share with you what I got out of it. A great deal of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists make up this code. This means whoever these people are, they must not be “on the run” and acting alone, but rather have always been part of this organization. This organization, Al-Qaeda online, appears to have run the last presidential election on the most highly ranked site in Google search, Youtube. Now I never thought anything about Obama, but it appears that Osama Bin Laden, much like these “internet marketing experts” who are terrorists, may have only been a spokesperson. It also appears that Osama’s name is a code and that Osama represents Obama and Biden (Bi)n La(den). It sounds ridiculous, but these people have been putting this code together for decades.

    9/11 itself was an intelligence failure of epic proportions. It appears that the events of 9/11 were a stepping stone to a much larger plan. That plan appears to be to overthrow the US government. I believe the attacks on 9/11 were symbolic to an attack on capitalism, our foundation. I believe that the FBI had a similar theory about Obama, given his background with radicals such as Bill Ayers, and radical preachers. I’m sure they also thought Osama Bin Laden could be a code, and that the most wanted terrorists having connections to US embassy bombings in Kenya and Indonesia was more than a freak coincidence for Obama to have a background with both areas as well. This code online connects the dots between everyone’s theories.

    It appears that a coup has taken place. Since Obama got elected, it appears unelected officials in Washington are using him to flush out the remaining members of the “New World Order” plot. After being tortured for over 3 years now, denied speaking with anyone in government, denied and attorney, denied a lawsuit in federal court, not to mention a million other things, I’ve been able to deduce quite a bit. The feds have also slowly taken over the media over the last several years.

    The feds are creating the stories, the headlines, they’ve recruited writers and moderators, and are doing everything they can to control the rate at which this information leaks out. They are trying to get everyone to focus on the 2012 election while discrediting the media. The only people left on this earth who can spread the truth are bloggers who understands the importance of this story and their first amendment rights.

    In attempting to release this story a month ago, the government took a preemptive strike by releasing Obama’s birth certificate, then a few days later, fabricated the story about killing Osama Bin Laden. Several major news sites are not allowing new registrations, comments are being deleted, and many un-moderated sites are now moderated. If they cannot delete a comment that starts to get attention, they’ll pull the link to the story from the main page on the site, this has happened repeatedly at Yahoo and The Huffington Post. The feds had ample time before the election to take down the biggest players, which would have created enough chatter publicly to take down any remaining threat. They decided that justice isn’t served in a court of law. The feds are covering up this story and confusing national security with job security. If you don’t want to live in a totalitarian regime operated by unelected officials turning elected officials in puppets, expose this story.

    Thank you,
    Aaron Fleszar


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