...and would such a process improve broadcast journalism?
A provocative question, and one that was tackled this morning during day one of the 2009 Broadcast Education Association convention. I moderated the session, in which five current or former journalists -- all of whom are teaching broadcast education at various schools -- discussed the topic.
The licensing idea was (justifiably) taken off the table becauuse it would require the government to be involved in the process. That was a potential can of worms that none of us wanted to have opened. On the other hand, certification seemed to have at least some traction, though it would be incorrect for me to suggest the panelists unanimously bought into that idea.
The argument against certification can be broken down into a few manageable statements: who or what would be responsible for it? The market already ensures that certification isn't needed. An emphasis on media literacy would assist in the public in becoming even more critical consumers than it already is. Free speech, expression and the press in some form would be violated.
The argument for also can be broken down into a couple of manageable statements: Certification of other professions (i.e. the medical and legal communities) gives those who have it a credibility and ability to practice what they do. Are bloggers journalists? (If not, then why are standards being applied to them?)
There should be more to say about this process, and at least two of the panelists argued that if the professional and education communities do not hold this conversation now -- and come to a concrete resolution -- than at some point the government will step in and make it happen.
Indeed, more needs to be said about this, and I intend to ensure that the issue remains in the collective mindset of my education colleagues.