Reporter's Notebook

The art and science of the interview

Shout Out to Reporters

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Pen Sword

This isn’t about interviewing, but it is about reporting.

Two things.

First, a reporter may, in his or her career, be a lot of things; spokesperson, marketing expert, advertising consultant, author.  But of them all, being a reporter like being a marine, is forever.   Especially if being a reporter was first, because the reporter never forgets that the truth is what is really important.  To a reporter, the crooked can never be made straight no matter the size of the giant or the paycheck.  If someone is trying to make them see something one way, it will never look right to them.  It will eat at them because their DNA is lit from within with the power of the pen.  Eventually, they’ll start truthtelling because even if the reporter has stopped using his teeth, he never loses them and they resharpen quickly.  Semper Fi.

Secondly, I am sick of hearing people who say that a reporter can never be objective so they shouldn’t try.  Weak people point to human base nature as an excuse to do nothing.  They say that since we can’t be “pure”, any attempt at objectivity is failed and thus, discredited and useless.  So reporters should just report with their biases with no attempt to be balanced.

If we’re going to pretend to be civilized, then we should play it out, and that means swallowing the higher ideals hook too.  Person A gets away with too much shit while trying to crush Person B for theirs.  I’m not for double dealing, but I’m for hypocrisy even less.  So, I guess I do care that some get away with it and others don’t simply because some thieves are thicker than others.

In journalism,  decent reporters load everything they can find out about questionable someones into the reporter’s centrifuge and whirl the hell out of it until everything has separated, and then burn up what’s left in the reporter’s autoclave until all you’re left with is something that is as pure as you can get.  And then you serve it back to the public and wait for what happens.  Because in the end, if anything changes, they’ll be the ones to change it.

It’s not perfect, but it’s a damn sight better than nothing, and well above the curve for effort.  I’ll take it.

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Written by Interviewer

April 26, 2013 at 14:34

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