News Veterans

News Veterans: Priceless

We think news veterans are priceless and believe it’s become obvious how important their work is. In the 2017 political landscape, especially, their worth is clearly noted daily. Who else holds accountable those in power?

Most of those journalists are experts who bring years of experience to the stories they cover. They have nurtured valuable resources and have fine-tuned their sense of what is most salient in any given issue.

In many, many cases they follow in the footsteps of their predecessors at a time when newsroom budgets were more generous and people were more willing to take time to read what was being reported.

The climate today has changed. Most readers want pithy soundbites and news stories are shrinking to become more like news briefs than news stories.

For tomorrow’s journalist, the landscape – which unfortunately includes a plethora of ‘fake news’ and advertisement driven news sites - is rockier than ever before. These newcomers will need to be show how to distinguish fact from fiction.

Enter in the veterans.

According to Judy Farah, a KFBK Radio contributor and former Associated Press reporter, having an opportunity to learn the ropes can make all the difference. She recalled being assigned stories that challenged her in many ways. Unforgiving deadlines and extensive research combined to push her hard and fast.

She wrote:

“Once upon a time, new reporters came into newsrooms and were relegated to minor beats such as covering planning boards or zoning commissions. They had to work for years to earn a shot at a coveted general assignment reporter position. But during that time, they got to observe and learn from the veterans who surrounded them. That doesn’t happen anymore. Whether it’s in print or broadcast, young reporters are being hired and pushed into reporting on air or in print with a minimum of training and experience.” She asks: “If all the veterans leave, who will train the next generation of journalists?”

Farah herself now a veteran who has trained more than 80 fellow journalists, including how to uncover strong news angles and determine which questions to ask, notes that many bureau chiefs, news and business editors, crime and sports reporters have gone by the wayside, due to mergers and layoffs.

We agree with her call for today’s remaining staff, most often dominated by younger, less experienced news people, to reach out to the veterans on their staff “for guidance and wisdom. Before they are all gone.”

Very wise words from a seasoned journalist who’s been on both sides of this equation. 

To read her complete Huffington Post article, click here.

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