Journalism as a “service”: A lecture by Professor Jeff Jarvis on September 18, 2020


The internet has given a voice to those who did not have voices before, said Journalist and Professor Jeff Jarvis, here citing the examples of Internet driven movements like #blacklivesmatter, #metoo and #occupywallstreet.

Addressing students of the Asian College of Journalism on Friday (Sept 18), he said  “Journalists have to share the stage, the microphone, and their power with their communities. We follow them.” There was a need  to “reimagine journalism as we know it. “

In an online lecture on ‘Social Journalism,’ which is much more than just social media, he said “The essence of social journalism is to view journalism as a service and not as a product.”

The main way to do this, he added, was by finding communities, observing them, and listening to their needs. “What are their goals? How do we help them meet those goals? We can only learn those things when we enter into conversations.”

According to Jarvis, an important part of social journalism was “to help improve the public conversation.” Mentioning the use of social media in this regard, he said, “The internet is not yet good at listening. It was built for speaking, and listening will come next. You need both to have a conversation.”

Jarvis also said that journalism must begin to look at all areas of coverage with the lens of systemic inequities in society. “We have to look at it with this lens of inequity because we haven’t in the past. Our newsrooms are not diverse and this is a major issue.”