WASHINGTON — A recent blog piece written by journalist Jack Shafer contended that journalists are like policemen and firefighters.
The Reuters blog piece said that a UCLA political scientist John Zaller compared the professions in a 2003 research paper. He analyzed two modes of news production and compared it to the investigative routine of these first responders.
Zaller said that when journalists “patrol”, they are like policemen who write the occasional ticket or are walking their beat. When in “alarm mode,” journalists conduct investigative journalism at crime scenes and the like.
Shafer backed up Zaller’s claims and acknowledged that journalists have two major modes: slow or fast (depending on current situations and circumstances). This could be a problem as news could be shifting toward more of a knee-jerk journalism instead of the more observational aspect that defined journalism for years.