If Walter Cronkite tweeted …

I wonder what one -line update he would be giving now. @unclewater  President Johnson just left voicemail, wonder what that’s about?

Walter Cronkite was a celebrity journalist, even though he hated that moniker.  He preferred newsman and was managing editor at CBS News.  Today, with many journalists taking part in social networking, they are once again becoming celebrities of sorts.  You should hear how one friend gushed like a love sick teenager about  a Wall Street columnist she follows.   So now I wonder who all this social networking is changing the role of today’s journalists. As a journalism professor I have had to rethink and retool how I teach journalism.

One of the first things I tell my students is there is no “I” in journalism.  Today’s students seem to think that readers care about their opinion when they are reporting about a fire or a rally.  I tell them that I don’t care how YOU think, let the facts speak for themselves, and let your readers, listeners and viewers make their own opinion.  Your job as a journalist is to make sure all sides are represented.  And then Facebook and Twitter came along with the one-line updates.  And it’s all about the “I”.  Along with the updates on a story they may be working on, now I also know who they are having dinner with, if they are team Coco or Team Jay, or Team Lindsey or Team Julia.  I know what books are on their nightstands and know that their 4-year-old daughter likes snowstorms.  I know that they can’t sleep at night.  I know who they get stuck in the elevator with.    It seems a reporter’s job is never done, especially if you have a twitter account.

I also wonder if their is follower envy among co-workers.  Is ABC’s Chris Cuomo wondering if he got replaced by George Stephanapolous on Good Morning America because George has more followers.

Personally, there seems to be something so narcissistic about believing that some stranger really cares about who I bumped into at a party?  Or what food they are serving at the NBC commissary in Vancouver.   But I guess strangers (or in some cases stalkers) do care about all this.  Hmmm … so where did Anderson Cooper say he was having dinner tonight.

@unclewalter  and that’s the way it was

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