Broadcast v. Print: We’re really not that different

Broadcast journalists are out for the ratings. Broadcast journalists don’t have ethics. Print journalists write too long. Jab. Jab. Insult. Dig. Jab. Jab. Jab.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, I’ll make my point.

For as long as I can remember, there has always been somewhat of a divide between print and broadcast journalists. They have different personalities, different ideas of how to tell a story, and, more importantly, different stereotypes and preconceived notions about how the other medium acts, both as a person and a journalist. And I’m sick of it.

Yes, I used to be one of those print people who not necessarily looked down on broadcast journalists, but didn’t hold them up to the stature they deserve. Why did I do that? I don’t know. It was just the nature of the people around me, I guess. Though I know we are all working our butts off to tell stories, break news and be as accurate and thorough as possible, I had this stupid idea in my head that print was better than broadcast, mostly because it’s what I prefer. It’s the medium I do well in. Put me in front of a camera, and I’ll stutter, stumble and clam up.

But I wasn’t jolted out of my blinded idiocy until the SPJ Reporters Institute  I attended last month. A lot of the journalists accepted to SPJRI were broadcast journalists, which made me a little hesitant. I thought,They won’t have the same problems I do at a newspaper. I won’t understand their problems. I won’t be able to use the information from the broadcast-related sessions. They’ll be perky, happy people and that won’t mix well with my typically pessimistic attitude.

I was wrong. We ALL deal with the same problems. We ALL have issues getting in touch with sources. We ALL have internal newsroom conflicts. The only difference is how we report. Plus, the broadcast people were pretty cool (along with everyone else).

The ‘holier than thou’ attitude on both sides of the journalistic coin just isn’t necessary. We’re all trying to work the same beats, talk to the same people and make a living doing what we love. Why waste time b*tching about the competition when you can build professional, working relationships with them? Especially with the direction the industry has turned toward.

Everybody has to be able to do everything. It’s hypocritical for a broadcast journalist to look down on a print reporter then go write a short article to accompany a video package. Just like it’s hypocritical for a print journalist to mock a broadcast journalist, then turn around and shoot video as a web supplement.

We’re all doing the same thing. Some of us just have more talent in different areas. So instead of continuing this broadcast v. print debacle, how about we all just let it go and start working together? It’s going to happen sooner or later anyway.


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