Rosen’s hybrid notion shifts the focus from defining “who is a journalist” to “what is journalism.” That’s a necessary shift, and once it’s made, it may be possible to build a new journalism, combining, for example, the best of traditional shoe-leather reporting with exciting new citizen-journalist teams. But a hybrid would require true collaboration between old and new practitioners who are serious about sustaining journalism and its public-service mission. Old media will have to let go of some attitudes and assumptions that are no longer relevant, and new media will need to recognize standards that can infuse credibility and trust into this new journalism. Working together will require everyone in the bigger tent to drop their animosities and check their egos. It’s not about us, after all. It’s about keeping watch on those in power, about ensuring an informed citizenry, about maintaining a democratic culture that is strengthened by vibrant reporting on vital institutions.


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Ann Cooper teaches at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism. She has worked as a reporter for newspapers, magazines, and National Public Radio, and was the executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists.