David Watts Barton left the Sacramento Bee in 2007 to work at the Sacramento Press, a hyperlocal digital news operation. In the Columbia Journalism Review, he described the extreme difficulty of producing credible journalism based on volunteer labor. “Editing costs money. Citizen journalists are cheap and they can even be good. but even great journalists need some editing; citizen journalists need a lot of it. … Without journalism jobs, we don’t have journalism.”
Longtime Sacramento journalist David Watts Barton asserts in an article published this week in the Columbia Journalism Review that without journalism jobs, we don’t have journalism. Barton talks about how the journalists “lit a fire under the local news media, focusing on stories that The Bee, the local alternative weekly, and the Sacramento Business Journal either didn’t notice, ignored, or couldn’t afford to cover.”
Much of this piece, which was intended to be about journalism, is instead about money. Perhaps that’s the ultimate message, as journalists everywhere are discovering. As journalists, we’re nothing if we don’t tell the truth, backed up by solid reporting. But unless someone, somewhere, is bringing money to the table, our political insights or critical acumen or familiarity with the machinations of city hall are mere dinner party—or Facebook—fodder. Without the money, we don’t have jobs. And “citizen journalism” notwithstanding, without journalism jobs, we don’t have journalism.
By Michelle Alexander, SacramentoPress.com, Nov. 4, 2011 Arts Journalism Honoring journalists for covering the regional arts scene, during the past year with accuracy, vigor and relevance. David Watts Barton has been a part of Sacramento’s arts and culture scene for 35 years as critic, columnist, blogger, editor, radio host and performer. Starting with local music…
David Watts Barton, 50, editor in chief of the online Sacramento Press, lives in a restored Victorian house in Alkali Flat, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods. He’s just a few blocks from City Hall.
“I can walk everywhere,” he said, running down a list that includes cafés, restaurants, the post office, live theaters, movie theaters, clubs, nightclubs, concert venues and the library. Because he does some writing for some national wire services, he also can walk just a few blocks to get files or cover cases at the county and federal courthouses.
En EE.UU encontramos multitud de ejemplos de periodismo ciudadano hiperlocal y Sacramento Press es otro de ellos. Se trata de un sitio web que combina el trabajo de periodistas profesionales y ciudadanos para ofrecer información local relevante para una pequeña comunidad, pero intrascendente para los grandes medios.
Managing editor David Watts Barton said the publication is still primarily driven by community journalists. He said the Web site aims to be something of a “hybrid” with a combination of professional journalists and community contributors. Barton wants the two full-time reporters to anchor the site with “real quality journalism,” with coverage of business and development matters and city government, and hopes their stories inspire more involvement from community members.
An online effort at citizen journalism aims to inspire Sacramento-area residents to contribute local stories and help a startup compete for advertising dollars with traditional media outlets. “We’re putting it out there in a more raw form,” said managing editor David Watts Barton, who left The Sacramento Bee in September 2007 after 23 years.