What does it mean for a journalist to have “authority” as derived from her ability to be somewhere or do something that her readers cannot? Jay Rosen offers an answer in this essay: Not that the reporter’s ability creates an argument from authority as such, but a weaker claim: “a legitimate claim on public attention.”
By “authority” I simply mean the right to be listened to, a legitimate claim on public attention. You begin to have authority as a journalist not when you work for a brand name in news (although that helps) but when you offer a report that users cannot easily get on their own. If we go way back in journalism history, the first people to claim this kind of authority were those who could say… I’m there, you’re not, let me tell you about it.