#VOJ10: What’s the value of journalism? A debate

flickr: boris_licina

Latest in a discussion with Freelance Unbound

Yesterday, Freelance Unbound argued that the media was losing sight of its communication role, and questioned the traditional editorial model.

But an editorial machine capable of turning straw into gold is exactly what I’m saying is still needed. Which is also where the subs come in. They traditionally had a lot of say in the way stories were communicated because they understood the audience, the style of the publication, the standards required. And they operated at their best as a kind of training school for best practice.

Of course the roles have evolved and the same kind of breakdown may not necessarily be needed. But having people who, for example, ensure there are two sources for every fact – even one seems ambitious these days! – strikes me both as worthwhile and as an example of the kind of thing that makes journalism more than just communication. Good journalism was also about producing something that was trusted in terms of accuracy as well as quality.

Most of the arguments in favour of axing subs are really about cutting costs – although that’s another discussion!

Whether it’s done by a separate group of subs, or whether subbing and production is seen as an important part of the editorial process, it seems to me we’re getting close to a concept of telling stories that can be defined as journalism.

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