II. What do journalists do, and why is it valuable for readers?

Journalism does not require years of advanced study, and reporters generally do little in the course of a workday that could not be done by anyone. Even before the Internet made it possible for anyone to publish information for public viewing, the basics of the job — talking to sources, perusing public records, attending news events, and writing — could be accomplished by anyone willing to invest the time. Journalism schools and classes exist at many universities, to be sure, but a journalism degree is not a prerequisite for entry-level hiring, and it's easy to find journalists who have never taken a class in the subject.

However, just as restaurants flourish even though anyone can cook his or her own food, people have long shunned the arduous tasks of gathering their own news and turned instead to newspapers, radio, and television. Clearly, journalists provide a service that people value. The interviews conducted for this paper elicited several responses that show how journalists provide a valued service.