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Reading Response #7- the legacy of Steve Jobs

1. The Poynter article “How Steve Jobs changed (but didn’t save) journalism” quotes a source who said Jobs “believes democracy is hinged on a free press and that depends on there being a professional press.”  But don’t his inventions encourage anyone to function as a journalist?

2. An ONA speaker on the 5th Estate panel said many people are “doing journalism” who aren’t trained as journalists, so we need to make sure that journalism tools are accessible to all.  Do you agree?  Isn’t this what Jobs’ inventions are doing – providing the tools?

3. Did Steve Jobs narrow or widen the “digital divide?”  Explain.

Don’t forget to post your responses by the Tuesday 10/22 @ 11:59p deadline.

Published inJournalismTechnologyTrends


  1. Kelsey J. Kondraski Kelsey J. Kondraski

    I think the quote that Steve Jobs, “believes democracy is hinged on a free press and that depends on there being a professional press,” is contradictory to his products. I think that having a free press is one of the best constitution rights. However, this does mean that anyone can publish mostly anything they want. A thirteen year old could write articles about his favorite baseball team but that doesn’t make him a sports journalist. There is definitely a standard that is set for professional journalists, but the line is now blurred. With products like the iPhone, iPad and iTouch, the average person can now participate in “journalism.” People can tweet, write, and take audio and video. They can even edit projects right on these devices. These are all things that journalists are expected to do. I believe that giving people access to journalism tools would be better for the credibility of a lot of work. People would learn how to use and perform journalistic techniques and provide better pieces of information. However, I think that this would hurt the professional journalists. If the idea is that “anyone could be a journalist,” then why am I paying to go to school for it? Jobs definitely widened the digital divide. All of the products that are produced by his company are fairly expensive. Many people cannot afford to get the newest iPhone or even invest in an Apple computer. People who are wealthy can afford all of the latest gadgets which leaves the lower class in the dust.

  2. Carter Wintsch Carter Wintsch

    I don’t think that Steve Jobs’ primary, or even secondary, motivation behind the iPhone was to create a tool for journalists. Jobs was most likely thinking on a much larger scale, and the fact that the tool helped journalists was just one of the many bright sides to his products. While his inventions may indirectly encourage anyone to be a journalist, they don’t necessarily encourage anyone to be a GOOD journalist. I still consider journalism a difficult craft, so I don’t think anyone can just do it perfectly. If his devices did anything for journalism, they encouraged anyone to CARE about journalism, making it completely accessible for virtually no direct cost.

    As far as the ONA speaker is concerned, I would use the same arguments. Every individual should have the proper tools to care about journalism, as everyone deserves to know what is going on around them. However, if you see a man walking around the street with a gun on his hip, do you automatically assume he’s a cop? Just as you wouldn’t jump to that conclusion, I don’t think it is appropriate to say that just because one has a smartphone capable of being used as a journalistic tool that they are capable of being a journalist. There are plenty of crappy blogs online that would backup this argument.

    The digital divide question is much more difficult for me to answer. On one hand, devices like the iPhone and iPad make information accessible in seconds from anywhere around the world. I would be interested to know what the news consumers demographics look like after the advent of the smartphone, because I feel like many more young people are exposed to news now that it can alert them on their phones. On the other side of the coin, it is safe to say that many of the people affording these technologies were the same who helped create the digital divide in the first place. I really don’t know what Steve Jobs’ products have done for the digital divide.

  3. Olivia La Bianca Olivia La Bianca

    I don’t know how I feel about the quote by the 5th Estate panelist. I mean, sure, in the context of Assange it resulted in something (controversially) worthwhile and important. However, just because people are walking around with iPhones doesn’t mean they know what the rest of the world needs to see or hear.

    In fact, citizen journalists armed with the power to post anything anywhere could be a very dangerous thing, as we’ve already discussed in this class and many others. Credibility of material falters when manufacturers no longer need credentials to produce it. In a hyperlocal context (and maybe by a fluke a national or international context) citizen journalism can be positive. However, no matter what theories we pose as to their value or contribution to the world of the media, we are all unspokenly in agreement with the idea that they cannot ultimately be trusted. How do I know this? Because we have yet to incorporate citizen journalists into our print media, into “official” news sites, or allow them into database search engines.

    In short, only when students are allowed to quote Joe Shmoe’s personal blog in a research piece will citizen journalists have actually achieved any kind of real credibility in the world of the media.

  4. Lucas Rodgers Lucas Rodgers

    I agree with the idea that a free press is essential to a functioning democracy, but I don’t think Jobs’ and Apple’s products necessarily encourage everyone who uses them to be a journalist. Professional journalists can use iPhones and iPads to shoot video, post articles, etc. with more ease than ever before, even while on the go, which has certainly changed the way news outlets function. On the other hand, many people who buy Apple products never use them to produce journalistic content. It’s good that more people now have the ability to produce their own content and publish it on the Internet, because it strengthens the exchange of ideas and adds to the collection of accessible information. However, it’s a double-edged sword because citizen journalists can also spread misinformation. Despite this, I still think it’s good for everyone to have access to journalistic tools so people can produce and share their own stories without relying on corporate-owned media for all of their news. As always, the responsibility is on the media consumer to do his own research in order to find multiple views on a story and try to figure out whether or not the so called ‘news’ is accurate and reliable information.
    Regarding the digital divide, I think Jobs narrowed it overall. Even though Apple products are fairly expensive and inaccessible to some people, they have inspired competitors to copy them and make cheaper products that do similar things, such as Android smartphones and tablets that can do nearly anything an iPhone or iPad can do, but at a fraction of the cost. Even people who don’t own such devices can usually find a way to access the technology and learn more about it. Younger generations especially are embracing technology that can be used for mobile journalism. An example of this could be how Twitter played such a prominent role in the Arab Spring, even though a lot of the content wasn’t up to par with professional journalism standards. There are still a lot of hurdles in the digital divide, but I think Jobs and Apple ultimately have contributed towards closing the gap.

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