Reporter's Notebook

The art and science of the interview

Posts Tagged ‘Taxes

Time versus Carefulness

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program-clock

There was an interesting conflict between broadcasting necessity and journalistic necessity this morning on CBS This Morning.  Susanne Craig and David Barstow, both reporters of the NY Times, co-wrote a story which they broke about the taxes of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Apparently, Ms. Craig discovered three pages of Mr. Trump’s 1995 tax return in her NY Times mailbox.  After she and Mr. Barstow verified the authenticity of the pages with the tax professional that actually prepared the return the pages seemed to come from, the reporters released the story.  The reporters were asked if they feared legal consequences for writing the story based on documents Mr. Trump’s campaign said were obtained “illegally”.  They responded that a  tenet of journalism is that if a reporter does nothing to solict the receipt of such documents and they are verified as true, they can report the story as factual and be held harmless.

Ms. Craig spoke succinctly and briefly about how she got the documents, while Mr. Barstow was extremely measured in how he talked about conversations with staff attorneys, odd presentations of numbers on the form itself and getting the preparer to verify his work.

But because he took so much time carefully going through those aspects of the story, Charlie Rose and Gayle King began getting cues from their director that time was running out and that they need to wrap so the show could go to a break.

It was ironic that the journalists at that table, all of which were seeking the truth in the spirit of the First Amendment, were also essentially at odds over the amount of time available to tell that truth.

The chasm between TV news and newspaper reporting has been an open secret for decades.  If you notice, TV people are often reading stories written by newspaper people.  Newspapers reporting has been and remains the backbone of American journalism while TV is the compromise that adds pictures and speeds things up while removing much of the useful nutritional information.

I understand the program clock.  I understand affiliates down the line waiting their turn to insert local news, weather and traffic.  And I understand the need to make sure advertiser’s commercials get aired since ultimately, that’s the fount from which everything flows.

It just made me a little sad that such an important story was abbreviated.  To read the full, fascinating article at your leisure, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/02/us/politics/donald-trump-taxes.html

Grunt Work

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database

I haven’t posted to my state constitutions blog since I launched the site … too busy.  And, unlike the conventional wisdom that you beat the hell out of people with blog posts, twitter posts, linkedin posts, facebook posts, Google+ posts, tumbler posts, etc, I just kind of write when I think I have something relevant to say.  But I’m sharing this post with both blogs because they share a common element.  Lists.

I am a list builder.  It is one of my gifts (and curses).  I can build a list with phone book sized data in very short order because I am extremely focused and I know where to go and what to do when I get there.  To wit, I’m just about finished with a list of all of the mayors of all of the major American cities.  I started it yesterday.  I’m going to use it to tell them about my state constitutions website.  I am constantly hearing about how mayors bump up against governors, or how smaller cities are constantly wrestling with larger cities, or how municipalities and counties have disputes with the state over issues like Home Rule and taxes, for example.  So I guess that by giving these mayors access to a resource like my site, it might make it easier for them and their staffs to research questions just a little bit faster.

This makes probably the 10th such list aimed at the 10th such specific audience I’ve thought up.  I’ve got another three or four more lists, just as long and detailed, to go.  But when I’m done, everyone I can think of with interest will know about it.  Then, I’ll just have to wait for the idea to percolate.  But at least I will have done my part.

Written by Interviewer

December 31, 2013 at 00:35

Political Interviews

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Image

I am engaged in another project to bring government to the people. I am inviting all candidates for office in Oregon for 2014 to talk to me about their candidacy and their goals if they are elected or reelected.  As of this writing, I’ve talked with three and 10 or so more have shown interest.  The interviews will be either about :30 or :60 minutes long depending mostly on how long we talk.  All interviews will be posted at the KBOO FM (http://kboo.fm/betweenus) website under my podcast, “Between Us”, which is a collection of interviews I’ve done with celebrities and regular people.  They will also be posted at my interview website, Conversus (http://www.convers.us/page4.archive.html).  In both places, visitors will also be able to read and print a transcript I created of the interview.