The Do It Yourself country
Sunday, March 25, 2007 by Dave Winer.
But I have done jury duty.
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.
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.
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.
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.