American journalism, it is safe to say, enters the 21
century beset on all sides.Journalists’ tenuous role as experts in determining ‘all the news that’s fit to print’ is under fire.At the same time, bloggers, online journalists, and other ordinary citizens and writers areattacking the very idea that there is any sort of journalistic expertise at all. As the editors note inthe Winter 2005 issue of
, ‘with the arrival of the internet, the ability of non- journalists to publish their words and link them with those of other like-mined scribes hasforever altered the balance of power between those who control the means to publish and thosewho believe they have something important to say’ (Neiman Reports 2005).
Empowered by newdigital technologies and emboldened by the internet, the very idea that there might be anoccupational monopoly on ‘telling the news’ seems, to many observers, dubious at best.I would argue that many of these debates regarding the occupational identity and publicrelevance of the journalism profession – Are bloggers journalists? Do online journalists practicetraditional forms of journalism? If not, what are the key differences between older and new journalistic practices? (Neiman Reports 2003; Neiman Reports 2005) – can be helpfullyreframed as series of questions regarding
. Within various academicdisciplines there has been a growing interest in questions of expertise, an interest building upon,though not entirely displacing, earlier scholarship in the sociologies of knowledge, the professions, and discourse analysis (Eyal 2002). Additionally, a growing scholarly debate seeksto analyze a normative relationship between expertise and democracy (Dzur 2004; Collins andEvans 2002). Applying this perspective to journalism, then, we might wonder: does journalistic