Thursday, May 03, 2012 12:00 AM

Elfin on the future of journalism

David Elfin '81 recently sat down with CollegeMagazine.com to talk about the state of journalism today. 

Elfin is currently a columnist for 106.7 "The Fan" in Washington, D.C. after having worked as a sports beat reporter for The Washington Times for 23 years (most of them covering the Washington Redskins). He spent 12 years on the Board, and two as president, of the Pro Football Writers of America. At the DP, he was a sportswriter for four years as well as sports editor for 34th Street Magazine.

He railed against amateurs breaking news online, even though they don't have the contacts, conduct the interviews, or have the training and experience of professional journalists. "You could sit in your dorm room, never having interviewed a player, and your opinion on cyberspace is equal to mine. That to me is a little scary," he said.

The idea that anyone can be a journalist due to blogs and Twitter, Elfin argues, is "bad because I still think it’s a profession. It’s not just some fly-by-night thing. This is something I’ve devoted my whole life to basically and to think that you might have an amateur breaking the news -- how would you feel if you had an amateur cutting you open in surgery or an amateur designing a bridge?”

As for the future of journalism, Elfin said it depends on the current generation of young adults. "You have gotten used to the idea of not paying for content. Well, who do you think makes the content? I don’t know what the future is because no one wants to pay anyone to do anything. Everyone wants it on the Internet and wants it free. So until that stops, why would you go into journalism?”

Click here to read the full interview.

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