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I don’t think that the creators and founders of the Pulitzer Prize nor the Peabody awards could have foreseen an age when a journalist’s job description would be encumbered with a quota requiring a set output of stories on a daily basis. Can you imagine if Warhol, Van Gogh, Jackson Pollack, or Mr. Wolfgang Mozart had worked under similar quotas? What that would have done to the quality and integrity of their works? What affect that would have had on their legacies and their acclaim, and how we regard them today? I believe that journalists much more closely resemble artists, painters and musicians, than they do salesman, assembly line workers, and call center nurses. When you factor in the role that journalists have and play in our society and in regards to the public, is it then not paramount for the purveyors and producers of our news, data, and enlightenment to be free of any shackle that would harm or impede their ability to be great at what they do?
It is yet to be seen what will come of the dispute between the Sun-Times Media group and the Chicago Newspaper Guild. Likewise, it remains unclear if the practice of assigning story quotas to journalists will become an adopted and accepted standard of mainstream media and journalism not only in the US, but globally as well. A famous Polish journalist, Ryszard Kapuscinski, once referred to journalism as the “blurred genre.” If quotas become the standard operating procedure for journalists, will this genre become even more blurred?
The Huffington Post