By Kathleen Kennedy
There are two mantras of old school journalism that appear to have gone the way of the rotary phone: 1) Never believe the first answer, and 2) When in doubt, check it out. In the early 1980s when I began my career in television news, even a shred of doubt was enough for us to whip out the journalistic shovel and commence digging. Woodward and Bernstein were our idols, the unrelenting model of perfection to which we all aspired. We were trained to ask the questions with one eyebrow up. Skepticism was a badge of honor. We didn’t seek the fleeting “ah-hah” moments of today’s reporting, we sought truth. There was no cutting and pasting in haste to get a story before the competition.
Don’t get me wrong. We did strive to get the story first, but we also did the actual legwork to get it right. Just ONE wrong move could cost your employer its credibility, and in a field that lacked the competition journalists have today, it was more noticeable. THAT was unthinkable. But in the wake of a 24-hour news cycle and countless competitors in print, internet and television, the bar we once held high found itself inches above ground. Never was that more apparent to this old schooler than this past February at a news conference for the World Mercury Project at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Our aim was to enlighten the media…Read More