Friday, November 18, 2016

Necessary Tools

So I was thinking about the Mobbies yesterday, and how Howard County bloggers always feel like fringe interlopers at what is essentially a Baltimore-centric event. And then I wondered what it would be like if Howard County had its own version of the Mobbies. What would we call it?

Well, the Hobbies, of course. At least, that's what popped into my head.

And that made me laugh. Because, with the exception of some business/commercial blogs, writing a blog is a hobby. You don't have to have any particular training. You don't have to answer to anyone but your readers, if that. Whether dilettante or maven, the blogger's credentials are essentially self -proclaimed. Professional standards?

Those are for the newspapers.

Friends, we need newspapers. Especially now. We need trained and experienced journalists who understand and adhere to journalistic ethics. I love writing a blog and I try to be very clear on what I know and what I have a gut feeling about but cannot prove. But nothing I do here is journalism. I do this for my own enjoyment. My teaching job affords me this hobby.

Journalists do this for a living and we need to pay their salaries by becoming paying customers. Subscribe, and sustain subscriptions. If you want to start local, a digital subscription to the Baltimore Sun also gets you Howard County Times/Columbia Flier. I've recently added The Daily Record.

In my opinion, a free press is a public good. But it is not one that can be supported by the public purse, like libraries are, because then it couldn't be truly free and independent. We have to step up.

If we don't? Well, look at what is happening all around the country.

I know this is a topic I have written about before. I probably will again. Today I am spurred on by news on the national scene which drives home the message that good journalism is a necessary tool in a free society. It's every bit as true on the local scene. After the school board election I wanted to publicly thank all the HoCo Tmes reporters who have covered education issues over the last four years. I couldn't even remember them all.

Trust me, folks: where we are going, we are going to need journalists. Don't wait until you need one only to discover they are gone.

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