Tag Archives: reporting

Reporting is Reporting

A reporter-turned-blogger who won a journalism award in the blog category thinks that reporting is reporting no matter how you report.  She also divulges her secret to scooping her media competition:

Well I use a lot of tasers and threats – idle threats. Someone asked me this the other day, they say how do you get so many scoops? And I’m like, I work harder than you, I call more people, I follow up. I’m kind of relentless in terms of making calls, building sources, creating relationships. When I hear a small thing I follow it up. I think there’s no trick to great reporting, it’s just being curious, following things up, developing sources and not just putting up whatever idle rumor is around. We don’t do that. When we write something it’s going to happen. We spend a lot of time on accuracy, on credibility, on truthfulness, and on being right about what we say is going to happen.

I've long felt that the one competitive advantage that mainstream news outlets had after they had laid off their real competitive assets (their people) was that they were the "reliable source." Of course all it takes to lose that advantage is a couple of poorly researched stories that are publicly debunked by some nosy blogger, or heck, some well informed and well connected person who exposes the errors on Facebook.  It's like you tell your kids, one lie undoes all the trust you built with a thousand truths. Now I'm beginning to think that another way the traditional news outlets can lose their advantage is by having it taken by a reporter who's spent years building her reputation by doing great work and who is now swimming outside of the mainstream media, probably because she was downsized, and is now highly motivated to eat their proverbial lunch so she can continue to literally put her dinner on the table. 

So what's the over/under on when we'll stop referring to reporters as "main stream" or "bloggers" and just start referring to them as, well, reporters?  How about when we'll stop worrying/caring if the reporting comes to us in the form of paper, traditional television newscast, carrier pidgeon or electronically on the personal-digital-device-du jour?  I'm glad I'm not the one who has to figure that out.

Adjectives and Context

It's always interesting to read about an event at which you were present and to really not agree with how the event is described.  This is not to say that the person writing about the event is wrong, or that I'm wrong, rather it highlights the subjectivity inherent to reporting. 

A case in point is a meeting I attended yesterday about which a reporter wrote "Contending for speaking time in a room full of raise (sic) voices…" To me that sentence implies that people were shouting, but I can tell you that from my point of view the participants of the meeting were speaking adamantly, but nobody was shouting.  It might seem like I'm nitpicking, but I think the context is important.  Meeting participants were disagreeing with each other and as I said I thought they were defending their positions stridently, but if what they were doing was raising their voices then my family shouts at each other incessantly.

Again, I want to emphasize that I don't think the reporter is wrong on this point, nor am I.  Rather I'm saying that it's interesting to see how two people can see the exact same thing and come away with differing interpretations.  Something to keep in mind when you read your daily paper, favorite blogs and other nefarious resources.

Oops there I went and dropped an adjective-bomb.