Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Proper Reporter

In The White House Diary of Jimmy Carter, the former President has an entry about a press conference.  His comment was that the journalists attending seemed much more interested in their questions than his answers. That goes ditto and possibly double for the recent press conference with President Barack Obama.

Back in the Dark Ages -- the fifties and sixties -- student journalists were taught and required to report the news as it happened.  In The Student Journalist by Edmund C. Arnold and Hillier Kreighbaum, they state "a reporter has no editorial policy."  I might suggest that a reporter is not supposed to have an editorial policy.  He is supposed to report the news in as unbiased a manner as possible.

Editorializing is for the editorial page not the front page.  Editorializing is for columnists such as George Will, Joe Klein, louhough, etc., not for the representatives of major news broadcasts who are assigned to cover press conferences.

We, of the American public, are mostly capable of formulating our own opinions as long as we get the facts as they happen, not some representation of the facts as warped by a reporter's own opinion.

In respect to the press conference where President Obama apologized for "fumbling the ball" with the health insurance startup, reporters were even wording the questions with their editorial colors flying high.

Watch it guys.  It is not enough to report just the facts.  We need you to leave your own biases at the doorstep when you enter press conferences.  Commit yourselves to getting the "5 w's and an h" without your own spin on it.

If you want to express your editorial opinion, become a columnist or a blogger.  We need you to be a proper reporter when you cover the news.

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