"Amateur is not below professional. It's just another way of doing [media]. The root of the word amateur is love, and someone who does something for love is an amateur. Someone who does something to pay the bills is a professional. The amateurs have [more integrity than] the professionals. If you're an amateur you have less conflict of interest and less reason not to tell your truth than if you have to pay the bills and please somebody else."
Winer makes a very important point about amateurs not being any less than professionals. But the key phrase in his quote is "tell your truth." Both amateurs (who may be passionate about a particular point of view) and professionals (who may claim to be objective) may be more likely to tell "their truth" even if its against "the truth" (if such a thing exists) or "someone else's truth" which may be more believable.
Amy Graham adds,
...Anyway, don't think Winer is down on journalism. He did mention in this interview, "It would be nice if journalism 101 was a requirement for every college freshman." I'd take that even further. Personally, I'd make journalism skills (along with critical thinking and media literacy) a fundamental part of K-12 education.
I completely agree with both Dave Winer and Amy Graham on this. We should make journalism an integral part of the curriculum in our schools and colleges.
Vincent D'Souza, Editor of Mylapore Times - a local neighbourhood newspaper in Chennai, has been doing a commendable job on this front by running a basic course in journalism for school students in Chennai every summer. I hope more children turn amateur journalists.