‘How to Be a Journalist’

(Above: Daniel Ellsberg, who was interviewed for ‘The Washington Post’ series ‘How to Be a Journalist.’ Credit: Dr. Bernd Gross)

Yesterday, Editor & Publisher, the journal that covers the newspaper industry, called attention to a new, ongoing series produced by The Washington Post called How to Be a Journalist.

The short videos, hosted by The Washington Post’s Libby Casey, describe the painstaking process involved in researching and writing stories. It’s a process that includes obtaining credible and verifiable information from reluctant public and private institutions, politicians and other sources.

As Rob Tornoe noted in his piece for Editor & Publisher: “It seems like these days there’s a war on objective truth, and reporters and the media companies they work for are more often than not finding themselves dead center in the crosshairs… So, how do media companies convince readers being drowned by a firehose of content that the journalism their newsroom is producing is trustworthy and non-partisan?”

The Washington Post has so far published three videos examining the lengths to which reporters go to try to get the story right.

“Whistleblowing 101”  includes an interview with Daniel Ellsberg who exposed the Pentagon Papers and is now the subject of the Oscar-nominated film, The Post;

“Everything You Need to Know About the Freedom of Information Act” examines how reporters can use open records laws to get information from the government”:

“Reporting on Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore” discusses how to turn a tip into a front-page story:

The Washington Post will publish more videos in the weeks and months to come. You’ll be able to watch them at The Washington Post and YouTube.

At a time when speaking truth to power is met with knee-jerk calls of “fake news” and partisan-crafted propaganda, The Washington Post series is an instructive view into the way journalism actually works.

About Larry Greenberg

A former local beat reporter and film critic, co-founder Lawrence Greenberg has more than 25 years’ experience as a writer and public relations executive.

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