Friday, October 21, 2016

We're Not Out to Get You, We're Out to Get Information

Raquel Devariel

Curiosity. Probably the most important skill a journalist can have. That little spark is what starts it all. As journalists we seek to find the truth and find information that is viable in certain situations. We act as the watchdogs for society. This role becomes part of who we are and part of our everyday lives.

Seeking to find this truth is what guides us to great stories. Without it, journalists face a stagnant career where they’re stuck reporting things that don’t make changes or impact society.

This characteristic is what sets us apart from other writers. We don’t focus on imagination. We focus on actual facts and events that impact our lives and our community. Therefore, we are bound to have curiosity and make the most out of it.

Reporter, Charlie Savage talked about this on his 90-minute talk held in Morton Hall at Ohio University on October 20, 2016.

He explained how being an English major made him interested in the journalism side of writing. Ever since he can remember, he wanted to be known for doing interesting things, which led him to having a goal to be that guy that people would aspire to be due to the legacy his writing would leave. At the beginning of his career, he started focusing on bringing things to light, which he described as being rewarded.
No stupid question in journalism.
Taken from:

Thinking like this led him to win a Pulitzer prize, which he achieved through a set of articles he wrote after the period of the 9-11 terrorist attacks in New York. He focused on analyzing the different debates congressed had about the torture ban and how President Bush, as Commander-in-Chief, thought that he could break the ban and did.

Savage was the only one to write about this period with a presidential perspective and what Bush was doing with his power. His curiosity gave him a different angle that other journalists didn’t write about. He pointed out facts about Bush’s presidency that also sparked the public’s investigative side.

This was his duty as a journalist.

In order to feed this curiosity that not only journalists have, but other citizens have too, the Hearken projects were created by New Jersey’s newsrooms.

“Hearken projects aim to reimagine how journalists and the public can work together to investigate the issues that communities say matter most to them,” says John Stearns in his article, In Curiosity We Trust: A New Journalism Collaboration is Putting People’s Questions First.

This project concentrates on opening platforms for the public that allow them to submit questions that they are curious about. These question then get voted on and the ones that win are the ones that get answered.

“The Hearken model helps produce stories that are original, relevant and popular,” says Stearns.

This is a perfect way of including our community and letting them know that as journalists, we are advocates of their concerns. This way we get across the message that we are not out to get them, we are out to get the information for them.

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