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by on March 6, 2014

In class today we talked about the qualifications of being a journalist in the light of requiring journalists to be licensed in order to practice journalism, and in a sense to be valid. An article by Steven Strasser, a Journalism Professor at the City University of New York, talks about this issue however emphasizing government who demanded licensing for journalists in certain countries. This aspect of licensing was not brought up in discussion but it is an good point to bring up that certain countries either use basic criteria (age, education, etc.) or set extensive requirements for attaining a license. Many of these countries are developing countries that have an assigned value to journalists, holding them to the same level as doctors and lawyers, which would coincide with the question brought up in class about whether the same standards of lawyers (having to take a Bar exam) should be applied to journalists, especially in Western countries where licensing has yet to be established, and what benefit would it truly have? Would such an unintentionally weed out great journalists who may not be able to “pass” such a test, and how would a test even be compiled?

According to Strasser it is mostly the governments who are in control of licensing in these developing countries, so they have a pretty good idea of what is being reported and have a greater influence on the media, infringing on the idea of freedom of speech. If people were to agree on a way to license journalists in America, who is to say our government won’t do the same, as it is pretty much on a “big brother” status already. And if left up to journalists themselves to create some kind of licensing system, who would you trust to make such a weighty decision? And how would it not morph into dwindling the significance of freedom of speech over time?


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One Comment
  1. It is hard to decide who would compose the exam because a journalist is not as well defined as other fields. I personally would not trust anybody specifically to make this. I think journalism should be left as it is because, like you mentioned, it may end up interfering with the idea of freedom of speech.

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