Journalists Interviewing Journalists

Fresh Air is a segment on National Public Radio (NPR) that always platforms a person or a story in a very interesting and new light. Listening to the show is like a breath of fresh air because of its refreshing content, hence the name.  Today Terry Gross, the commentator, talked with David Carr.  Carr is a reporter for the Media Equation column for The New York Times.  He was featured in the new documentary Page One that follows the story of the newsroom within the Times.

In his interview today, Carr talked about the old ways of reporting versus the new platform and all it entails.  He talks about the uses of Twitter and other social media sites and how they are important tools for reporters to learn to use because they can instantly know what is going on in the news and what they’re friends are reading and looking at which relates to what media consumers want to know more about.  He also discusses a new technique he’s recently taken up where he’ll ask his sources what they feel the story is on any given topic.

Historically, I had been a reporter who was very fond of making speeches and very fond of telling people what their stories were about,” he says. “[As journalists], we’re people who just show up and declare ourselves instant experts on all manner of stories. And we often are only taking a very blunt-force guess about what’s going on, and I think it always behooves us to ask the people, especially if you’re aspiring to do something good, ‘What do you think is going on? What do you think this is about?’ ”

Carr was also a strong feature in the new documentary Page One about the New York Times newsroom

Asking sources what they feel the story is can be seen as a no-no because then they are dictating what the reporter tells; however, it

can also be used to get a fresh angle on a story from someone who has a first hand account whereas a reporter may not know everything on the subject like a source directly related would.  I think asking this question in certain situations is a fantastic way to get at an angle in a new way that a reporter may not every think of on their own.

This interview was really great and informative for those in the journalism field to get an idea of how much the profession has changed over time and the express how the tools we have at our availability now can be used to enhance our story telling.  It’s also a great story for media consumers in general so they can understand how we work and why we work the way that we do, and also to enhance their media literacy skills as consumers.

If you’re intrigued (and I think you really should be) you can read the story as well as listen to the broadcast interview on NPR’s website.

-Haley L.


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