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Work harder, dig deeper, get at the truth

DISCUSSIONS | May 24, 2006

Ned Cline

1974 Nieman fellow; Self-employed as a biographer and teacher, following a newspaper career.

First, I think reporters (and their editors) need to work harder. By that I mean they need to dig more deeply and not just accept the script of a press aide or opponent. The facts are important, but the truth behind the facts is equally so. Too often, I feel, newspapers and networks just report what someone said or the "horse race" and don't probe deeply enough. Breadth is important, but so is depth.

I don't believe that voters (readers/viewers) don't care about  issues. Problem is, the press doesn't often enough give them issues while going  after the "gotcha" approach. It is also important that the press work to disabuse the public of preconceived notions (some justified and some not) that reporters are all left-leaning liberals. Work harder to show objectivity by avoiding labels or voice inflections that send wrong messages.

This item is one of several responses to a survey of former Nieman fellows. Click here to see the main story.

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