Good, old-fashioned reporting

Accountability, critical thinking and databases. Going in-depth. Avoiding the surface and asking tough questions.

Recently, old-fashioned reporting got a boost from the Associated Press. The AP is creating four regional investigative teams that can dive into the news as it develops, not days after a story settles. Here’s a portion of the memo from Mike Oreskes, as well as a link to the full memo below. Both were taken from the Romenesko column on Poynter.org.

AP is making a significant commitment to this kind of journalism by creating four regional investigative teams to complement our existing national and Washington based investigative reporting operations. These teams, tapping some of AP’s best reporters and editors, will serve as a resource for AP journalists across the country, an engine for producing ground-breaking, exclusive journalism that is important to millions.

Each team will include specialists in computer-assisted reporting, public records access, Flash interactives, and good old-fashioned source reporting. Training money is going toward further building these skills among the team members. The teams will work closely with our video producers to make sure our exclusive journalism is designed from the beginning to work on all our platforms.”

Full memo: http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=45&aid=180917

What I take from this: The move emphasizes the basics, not the frills, of watchdog journalism. We can dress up any story, but without information that is exclusive to our coverage area or to The Shorthorn we have a “generic” product. Some tips:

– Report news when it happens, not when we hear about it from other sources. Get it first, and we can hook readers to rely on us for developments.
– Report news well. Be thorough, and provide context that is unique to readers here. Localize your content. That is, tell UTA readers how a news story impacts them.
– Be exclusive. That means reporting content that is of unique interest to our niche audiences, and doing so thoroughly.
– Follow through with these commitments. Innovation is great, but ideas are simply ideas unless we follow through with great journalism.

Things to think about. I’d love your comments on this.

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