Journalists’ role when there is no gate

The twin issues of the prisoner photos from Abu Ghraib and the Nick Berg murder video raise the issue of what newspapers should show.

Jay Rosen writes about the issue today in PressThink: Even the smartest people in the major news media–and this is especially so in television news–have not really determined for themselves or explained to us exactly what their role should be in the worldwide fight against terrorism. “Cover it responsibly and well” doesn’t begin to provide an answer. For it must have occurred to people high up in the network news divisions that the videotape of the beheading was made not only for Bush but for them, in their professional capacity; and that is a fact they have to live with, think about, whether or not they show us the gruesome act.

Jeff Jarvis gives his view on BuzzMachine: This is an extreme example of the revolution journalism is facing: When the people can see the news for themselves and judge for themselves, what is the role of journalists’ news judgment? Are we merely to become a pipeline for source material? Are we merely fellow citizens, like our readers, with opinions of our own? Do we still think we know more (and better) than the audience or do we admit that the citizens know more we do?

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