It’s not just what you print that makes you an authoritative and trusted source for news, but what you don’t print.
One of the fun things about journalism (to me) is the opportunity of find out more about why or how something happens. While Google has been performing this function well most of the time, I often enjoy reading a good, well-written and well-edited backgrounder on an issue that is currently in the news.
The BBC News’ “Who, What, Why” is one such series. After rebels seized the city of Timbuktu in Mali, this article “Who, What, Why: Why do we know Timbuktu?" served as a good backgrounder on how the place Timbuktu came to represent a place far, far away in the English language.
Then there was a story about a cat that survived a 19-floor fall in the US. The question became: “Who, What, Why: How do cats survive falls from great heights?”. Some people might say such a topic is frivolous, but I say, never stop asking questions!
Commonsense advice, but good nonetheless, and applicable across all industries, not just the media.
There’s an awful lot written about how to apply for journalism jobs - but most of it comes from the applicants’ perspective. Instead, today we have a piece from a senior B2B editor on their recent recruitment process, and why most of the applications that came in were lacklustre at best.”
The best par is probably right at the end:
"After all, being a reporter is about being able to get a foot through the door, make an impression, collect information and present it to a reader in a concise, distinctive way. A job application is a chance to show an employer that you have these skills by telling a compelling story about yourself. Why miss it?"
Read more here.
Nobody will pick them from the doormat wondering how the world has changed from the day before. They will be badges, evidence of their readers’ cultural or political tastes, with an artisanal-cheese kind of price that turns them from a habit into a hobby.
This quote, by veteran British newspaper man Ian Jack, is, of course, about newspapers. Much has been written about the possible demise of the print medium, which has been the source of some of the best journalism in the history of the news industry.
Jack’s op-ed in The Guardian is worth a read. It’s well-written and honest, and reflects on some of the strengths of newspapers - which will be lost if and when they die.
He brings up some good points, for example about distribution:
"If one big publisher, say News International, withdrew from the pooled distribution arrangements then the increased cost for the rest could be fatal."
And also about the possible demise of serious, especially investigative, journalism:
"Serious reporting could be the most serious casualty, because it’s expensive and present estimates of digital income won’t cover the costs of foreign correspondents and a well-staffed newsroom; philanthropic owners or a drastic reconfiguring of editorial budgets will certainly be required."