Posts tagged journalism
I’m on this alumni listserv from grad school, which usually tends to discuss things like grammar or word usage, open jobs around the country, or the value of Twitter for journalists. I only pay attention with about half an eye to each email that comes across, mostly because conversations often devolve into a fight between the “old school” thinkers and the “new media” generation.
But last week, someone wrote in to ask how to explain the value of editing to a new blogger she’d just hired, and a story cropped up from an alum named Mel Bloom that was worth my attention. He said:
My first job out of Medill was at what was then the combined newsroom of WBBM and WBBM-TV in Chicago. I was a rather young and inexperienced newswriter/editor/occasional reporter. It was 1960.The late Walter Cronkite was in Chicago and doing his evening news from our studio that night. He also had a late afternoon five minute radio news show…a variety of CBS News personalities had these hourly gigs throughout the day. He had asked for some space and a typewriter and I was working at the next desk in the newsroom pretending to be unimpressed. Cronkite polished off his script, looked around, looked at me and asked, “Do you have a minute to look this over for me?”And I, the insecure child J-school grad of hardly a year said something like, “You want ME to edit your copy?”And Cronkite said, “Everyone needs an editor.”
Something about this story really hit home. It’s about more than just being willing to have someone edit your writing. Producing good work, in my experience, almost always stems from a willingness to incorporate good ideas, no matter where they come from.
(This is what it looks like when you mess up your stand-up in front of experienced cameramen.)
I wrote a blog post for Medill’s Washington 2.0 about my experience covering politics with other members of the press, who more often than not, turned out to be helpful. Maybe it was because my sweaty face and lost look screamed “Help me!” Here’s an excerpt,
At the Capitol, cameramen who shoot dozens of standups a day were right there to press record if you needed them, or light your head with their fancy equipment so you didn’t have a huge shadow covering part of your face. At the White House, a ABC crewwoman named Vicki not only calmed my nerves as I set up my camera on a riser in the East Room (the order went: NBC, FOX, CBS, ABC, Medill), but she also gave me a brief tour of the press offices in the West Wing. (Did you know the White House Briefing Room is on top of what was the White House swimming pool?)
This is David being adorable. His piece for the Medill blog is sweet and genuine and totally on point. For all of you who send me questions about how to be a reporter, this is a huge tip. Take help when people offer it. No one goes it alone.
“ A lot of people look at science journalism as a form that is not as critical as political journalism, but that’s not right. The vast majority of problems that the developing world will be facing in the future are science-related. I really think science journalism should be a push to hold people accountable, to take a more proactive role.”