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The Do It Yourself country

Sunday, March 25, 2007 by Dave Winer.

Another thought before calling it a night. Permalink to this paragraph

I am not a lawyer. Permalink to this paragraph

I am not a judge. Permalink to this paragraph

But I have done jury dutyPermalink to this paragraph

And in doing so I became an amateur judge. Permalink to this paragraph

The noblest kind of judge there is. Permalink to this paragraph

It was a wonderful experience, and while, like everyone else, I felt inconvenienced at first to be dragged into court, by the time it was over, I saw the value in it, was glad I did it -- it changed my life forever, for the better.  Permalink to this paragraph

So when people wonder if it makes sense for every educated person to spend a semester in college learning to be a journalist, think of jury duty as being an amateur judgement, and then think how wise our founders were for designing a system where we are judged by amateurs, our peers, not by our supposed superiors, and ask yourself if journalism is any less noble a trade than judgement. Permalink to this paragraph

I heard a report in this week's On The Media about a law in Rwanda that requires journalists to be licensed. The justification was that the law requires doctors and lawyers to be licensed, because a lawyer can lose your freedom, and a doctor can lose your life, and they found that in Rwanda that journalists can help create genocide. Pause for thought. Journalism is powerful stuff. Too powerful to be left to the pros. Permalink to this paragraph

The United States is the Do It Yourself country. To the extent that we don't remember that, that is the extent we've lost our way. Permalink to this paragraph

It's good that everyone gets a chance to be a journalist. That doesn't mean that everyone will be one, but it's important that everyone can be one if they want to. So teach the kids to be journalists, take the mystique out of it, show them how to vet a source, what integrity means, how to think for themselves. The gatekeepers are losing their power to keep us out. The naysayers can say their nays, but it doesn't change a thing. Permalink to this paragraph

Over and out. Permalink to this paragraph

© Copyright 1994-2007 Dave Winer. Last update: 3/31/2007; 9:22:51 PM Pacific. "It's even worse than it appears."

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