One-On-One With Tracy Jan

by Cassandra Martinez

When Tracy Jan was only seven, the seeds of her journalism career were being planted. Jan created her very own newspaper, filled with drawings, headlines and stories about events surrounding her life.

From then on, Jan became involved in the news whenever possible, writing for her high school paper and creating her own college newspaper.

During her time at Stanford University, Jan was awarded the Fulbright grant and allowed to travel to Taiwan to write human-interest stories for a local paper in Mandarin.

When I met Tracy at the Boston Globe a few days ago with Sam Mausner, she was nothing but cordial and informative cornering the past, present and future of her career.

While she admits the future of journalism is still a mystery, with the Boston Globe having a particularly hard financial year ending with most journalists taking a 10% pay cut as well as other benefits being slashed.

According to Tracy, hard financial times and the emergence of the Internet have made the Globe focus on their site and upgrading its features to make the site more user-friendly.

When asked what she thought was a negative aspect of this new virtual age of journalism, Tracy had a definite answer: the negative comments and citizen journalism.

“The hardest thing is just filtering comments,” Jan said. “People can and have just spouted off about one of my stories, not bothering to censor themselves.”

A possible reason for such brutal honesty and bullying on the web could be the fact that there are no consequences to bad behavior on the net. I, myself, have seen numerous stories with a multitude of comments that spawned from anger over someone who wrote something irresponsible.

Tracy’s beef with citizen journalism and blogging is with the thinking that a lot of people on the Internet are not able to properly discern quality journalism that has been checked for facts from opinion-tainted blogs calling themselves relevant sources of news.

But in the age where news and social media on the web have become outlets for one another with such sites like Facebook and Twitter, it seems like this is only the beginning.


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