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Posts Tagged ‘journalist’

          What a newspaper needs in its news, in its headlines, and on its editorial page is terseness, humor, descriptive power, satire, originality, good literary style, clever condensation, and accuracy, accuracy, accuracy!” — Joseph Pulitzer

Reporter, one of the books I’m currently reading. I give it five stars plus.

It was my Era, Too

          “I’m a survivor from the golden age of Journalism,” wrote Pulitzer Prize-winning author Seymour M. Hersh in his memoir Reporter.

Me, too, was my first thought. While Hersh, who like me is in his 80s, was a big fish swimming upstream in search of truth, I was a small fish in that same stream. As reporters before the year 2000, we were given time to search out the truth, not pressured to put unchecked information out to the public before it was researched and verified.

Reading Hersh’s book, I learned that both of us had started our careers under the thumb of hard-boiled editors who told us that if we thought our mothers loved us, we should still check it out.

Better yet, back then we weren’t pressured to respond to every rumor put out on the internet – because there was no internet instantly available to rumormongers, malicious gossips, bullies, political liars, or simply misinformed individuals.

I believe there are still responsible media outlets out there that are dedicated to facts and context. But we’ve lost a lot of them because they couldn’t survive in today’s world. The big display ads and classified ads that once supported strong newsrooms have disappeared from print pages to web sites and online advertising.

Online seems to be where the world, including myself, does business these days. I submit articles for publication online. I keep up with my far-flung family members and get to see my great-grandchildren grow up online. And the internet brings the world to my small apartment.

I love the internet. The downside, of course, is that we users are left to determine what’s the truth, and what’s fictional garbage.

Just the facts, Ma’am,” as Sgt. Joe Friday used to say on the TV series Dragnet. Instead, we too often have what Hersh calls the two deadliest words in journalism: “I think.”

Bean Pat: To all the media outlets surviving today that still put accuracy ahead of beating the competition – or biased agendas.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining .

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Great Egret

Snowy egret

 If you just see the photos of the two egrets on the right, you might think they were the same size, or even that the one on the left was the largest of the two. It’s all a matter of perspective — as you can see from the picture  below of the two of them together. 

                 — Photos by Pat Bean

                                                _____________

“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” — Friedrich Nietsche

Travels With Maggie

One of my proudest accomplishments when I was a journalist was to get comments about a story I had written from people representing two sides of a polarized issue, each claiming my article had taken their opponent’s side. It was only then did I pat myself on the back for getting the story “mostly” right.

How each of us view life is colored by a unique perspective – our own. Truth is usually somewhere in the middle.

Eyewitnesses accounts of events can vary so greatly they sound like two different happenings. I see this frequently when I read accounts by two different reporters covering the same speech.

As you can see when you get the full picture, the snowy egret on the left is quite a bit smaller than the great egret on the right. These two were sharing a log at Estero Llano State Park in Texas' Rio Grande Valley.

For example, an environmental reporter might lead with a lumber industry spokesman’s quote: “A tree can produce enough oxygen to keep five or more people alive for a year.” But a business reporter’s lead would more likely be: “Logging is the life blood of hundreds of small communities; stop cutting trees and people will starve or turn to welfare.”

Both reporters, in the space they were allowed, quoted the speaker accurately. And the speaker was correctly quoted both times. The stories just came from different perspectives.

Travel has broadened my perspectives. I’m constantly reminded it’s a very complex world out there and that answers to problems do not come easily, nor without compromise.

Even through my camera lens – when indulging in my birdwatching passion – things aren’t always what they seem.

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