LJWorld.com weblogs Mackenzie Steffen

100 Things


The Poynter Institute has created a list of the 100 Things Journalists Should Never Do, and by journalist they mean “anyone -- inside or outside a newsroom -- who aspires to provide an accurate account of something. It could be an account of parenthood, or what happened at the World Series, or whether the swine flu vaccination is available where you live.”

The list is posted on Twitter; anyone can chip in.

So, these guidelines not only apply to the professional journalist but to the citizen reporter as well. I think it’s a great idea for anyone wanting to report news, to get involved in storytelling to adhere to some basic ground rules and always strive to provide a complete, enlightening and eye opening contribution.

Here are a couple of my favorites:

4: “Journalists should be active community members. If you aren't of the people, you aren't by the people or for the people.”

This is crucial because being active in the community affords journalists access to the greatest wealth of information. Being engaged in the happenings of a town, neighborhood or PTA keeps us in the know and in contact with sources, our neighbors.

5: “Get out of the office & out of the house. Don't hide behind your job or computer. Rediscover the "local" in "hyperlocal."

With any reporting there is always research to be done, most of which happens on a computer these days. But good storytelling requires much more human interaction. Phone interviews are also a necessity at times as we all have limited resources, time mostly. I have found that sitting down face-to-face for an interview always yields the most amazing twists and turns I never would have thought to seek out.

One interesting thing about these two rules is that they are things “citizens” naturally do. Maybe it’s time for journalists to see themselves as citizens, not media machines.


avossen 8 years, 7 months ago

Human interaction is an integral, and maybe most important, part of journalism if you ask me. Yes, the e-mail interview is incredibly convenient, but you miss out on the little nuances of people. Those nuances are the difference between writing about a subject and writing about a person you know, and I think that will come through in the finished product.

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