Reinventing the Craft of Reporting

photoListening to Dean Baquet speak at The Foster-Foreman conference was an experience I won’t soon forget. That was the first time I’ve ever heard advice from someone so high up in the world of journalism and you can bet I took notes on every word he spoke. Baquet is a natural born speaker. The way he spoke was incredible; his reassuring tone and certainty of his words made me trust everything he was saying. Baquet had an absurd number of quote worthy words of wisdom in his one hour Q&A, but the one quote that stuck out the most for me was, “If you suck up all the knowledge you can get…you get the chance to transform a craft that actually needs some transformation and I can promise you will have the absolute time of your life doing it.” It was refreshing to hear someone speak about his or her profession with such passion. After listening to him speak at the conference I had butterflies in my stomach, I’ve never been so excited to begin my career in what Baquet calls, “a great time to enter the world of journalism.” The technological advances in media over the past 10 years not only transformed the way we, as journalists, report information, it also transformed the way readers receive that information. These technological advances offer readers a new way of experiencing narrative journalism. I think it’s important to know as journalists that the readers are the most important part of the business model. However, this does not mean we should compromise the integrity of our industry for the sake of reporting “news”. The speed of the web has confronted many news organizations with fast paced “in-the-moment” decisions. Baquet answered a student’s question regarding the “to publish or not to publish” dilemma when faced with competition and a controversial topic, “Your ethics are your ethics…if your competition choses to do it; that’s their ethics…if you change your ethics no one will know who you are.” I used to view journalism as a competition, whoever puts the story out first, gets the most detail, the best pictures, wins the game. Listening to Baquet taught me to hold onto my ethics in a typically vicious industry, advice I might have been forced to learn the hard way if I didn’t hear it this early. Baquet has been around the journalism block a few times and stated at the conference that he learns by “trail and error.” I’m going to hold onto his advice and hopefully when I’m faced with a tough call in the future, I’ll look back on this conference and like my mom always says, “Make good choices.”



2 thoughts on “Reinventing the Craft of Reporting

  1. Hey Kristina,

    Baquet’s words on ethics resonated with me as well. It was so interesting to hear the managing editor of The New York Times say how important your ethics are when considering what to publish and what not to publish. He said it was our job as journalist to publish information when it comes to us. It’s what journalism boils down to. We have to publish because it’s our obligation. However, our ethics play into if we really SHOULD publish something and it’s really admirable when you think about it.

    I like how you highlight the transformation of journalism with the advancement of technology. Do you think that, as technology advances and the speed of news reporting increases, it will be harder to be quick AND most importantly accurate?

  2. Jordan,
    I think we have a lot of similar views on this topic, it’s nice to hear. In response to your question, I do think it will become harder to keep up and be accurate while technology advances. Accuracy and technology are clearly related in this field. In my opinion, an increase in technology causes a decrease in accuracy.

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