Big story: Newsies can err
Vail CO, Colorado
The way to read a newspaper, view a news broadcast and especially stories on the Web is with a prudent skepticism.
After all, this is the handiwork of humans, however disciplined. News is never the stuff of 1 plus 1, and commentary far less so ” even with all the facts, eye-witnessing and empirical evidence that go into a report. Part of what is so fascinating about journalism to at least some of us is that on some level, you can never get it completely right.
And oh, we know. It’s so easy to get it completely wrong. This is the challenge for busy lay people trained in asking questions and reporting answers that other busy lay people can understand quickly. Not just the basics, but nuances, too.
Throw in politicians and others with their various agendas, and the stew of information and opinion gets rich indeed. Not that the wretches in the newsroom would have it any other way.
The challenge hardly ends with the reporting, writing and editing. In some ways, that’s the easy part. For a newspaper and its accompanying Web site, there’s still a lot to do.
The same staff racing the print deadline now has a real time responsibility to get the timely news on the Web right way, and post updates through the day and evening, then capture that final report for the print edition.
The gantlet between reporting and publication or broadcast is long, and each hiccup along the way is very, very public. The people who take them on are as serious, earnest, committed, creative and brave as you will find in any profession.
The actual rate of error in their work is remarkably low, given the speed and complication of daily journalism. We know, painfully, that we do err even as we tilt at windmills for perfection, and no less.
” Don Rogers for the Editorial Board