“What is a Journalist?” Debate on the Brian Wilson Podcast

From the Brian Wilson Substack: “BIFF! BOP! POW! The Two and Only, Brian Wilson and Jim Bovard take “Journalism” and “Journalists” to new highs and lows, scope out the latest Julian Assange travesty and how Jim navigated “education” vs. “learning”. A zesty yap fest!”

You can listen or download the MP3 by clicking here or    https://brianwilsonwrites.substack.com/p/the-two-and-only-brian-wilson-and-c61

Brian wrote two Substack pieces on the issue of who should be called a journalist in the days before our show spurred by the NBC firing of former Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.

Brian stated that “anyone claiming the title ‘Journalist’ must come with the degreed qualifications.”  He made the same point in different ways: “From my perspective and experience, Journalists are trained and degreed” (graduates of an accredited Journalism school or with a degree in Journalism). He wrote: “I take principled offense at those who appropriate a title they never earned, unlike my wife and others who worked their ass off to get and strictly adhere to the Code of Ethics of their profession.” Brian declared:  “Wouldn’t you expect a professional ‘journalist’ to have bona fide credentials on a par with other professions” such as doctors and lawyers – “to qualify for their titles”?  He wrote: “There are ample acceptable and accurately applicable job titles that do not falsely claim the title others have earned academically.” Brian stated that a journalism degree “should be obviously important to anyone looking for Integrity and Accuracy is the news.” Brian mentioned that some of the individuals that NBC identified as “journalists” had not graduated from college.

In the podcast, I wondered about the efficacy of ethics classes.  In the past 30 years, the percentage of people working for print and broadcast media outlets who have journalism degrees has skyrocketed.  At the same time, public trust in the media collapsed. There were a heap of other variables at play and yet…

Brian stated that in all the years that he knew me and followed my work, he had never heard of anyone refer to me as a “journalist.”   So I couldn’t resist scanning and posting the leftover I.D. badges from the 20 years I was accredited as “Bovard News Service” by the U.S. Senate Press Gallery.  Besides, I am a mere Hokie dropout, since I didn’t finish a four-year sojourn at Virginia Tech.

I see “journalist” as an occupation more than a title.  In daily life, the term is simply another one of the flags of convenience  I use – along with writer, reporter, investigator, muckraker, hooligan, policy analyst, author, and “innocent-looking bystander.” I welcome suggestions from readers if there were terms that I forgot in the prior list.

I will be writing more on this topic in the coming days.


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One Response to “What is a Journalist?” Debate on the Brian Wilson Podcast

  1. timmy taes April 9, 2024 at 10:13 pm #

    Well, at least you didn’t need a costume for Halloween.

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