It’s trending again, the hashtag that blows my mind: ‘#thisisnotjournalism’. It throws me, because of the question it begs. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the start of my journalistic career. I have taught journalism at various universities for about half that time. I have written books about journalism. The lecture I give to students in the first week of the year is titled ‘What is journalism?’. So, you’d think I’d know what it was. And yet when that hashtag trends on Twitter, it upsets me. It leaves me stumped.
Once we worried about the great majority of people who were politically disengaged, who didn’t consume the news, who didn’t think about how to vote until they entered the polling booth. They are still with us. But now there is a new phenomenon. We might call it the hyper-engaged: a Greek chorus using Twitter, Facebook and TikTok to comment on and critique mainstream media.
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