On this, the 100th anniversary of the day the first world war began, it is sobering to look back at the way that conflict was so badly reported. The catalogue of journalistic misdeeds is a matter of record: the willingness to publish propaganda as fact, the apparently tame acceptance of censorship and the failure to hold power to account.
Roy Greenslade, The Guardian. First world war: how state and press kept truth off the front page.
FJP: The more things change…
Don’t wait for permission to make something that’s interesting or amusing to you. Just do it now. Don’t wait. Find a story idea, start making it, give yourself a deadline, show it to people who’ll give you notes to make it better. Don’t wait till you’re older, or in some better job than you have now. Don’t wait for anything. Don’t wait till some magical story idea drops into your lap. That’s not where ideas come from. Go looking for an idea and it’ll show up. Begin now. Be a fucking soldier about it and be tough.
Ira Glass to Lifehacker. I’m Ira Glass, Host of This American Life, and This Is How I Work.
Quick tip for things to do immediately post-interview:
When I come out of an interview, I jot down the things I remember as being my favorite moments. For an hour-long interview usually it’s just four or five moments, but if out I’m reporting all day, I’ll spend over an hour at night typing out every favorite thing that happened. This is handier than you might think. Often this short list of favorite things will provide the backbone to the structure to my story.
Read through for the gear This American Life uses and its editing process.
I regret being scared. I regret wasting time thinking I wasn’t good enough, that I didn’t deserve a seat at the table. You do belong and your voice is worthy. Say it to yourself in the mirror every morning if you have to, but don’t ever forget it.
Jenna Wortham, reporter, New York Times, to Buzzfeed. 39 Pieces Of Advice For Journalists And Writers Of Color.
Buzzfeed asks twenty established writers what advice they’d give to those breaking into the industry.
Here are the questions:
Sometimes the CIA or the director of national intelligence or the NSA or the White House will call about a story. You hit the brakes, you hear the arguments, and it’s always a balancing act: the importance of the information to the public versus the claim of harming national security. Over time, the government too reflexively said to the Times, “you’re going to have blood on your hands if you publish X,” and because of the frequency of that, the government lost a little credibility. But you do listen and seriously worry. Editors are Americans too. We don’t want to help terrorists.
Jill Abramson, former Executive Editor of The New York Times, to Cosmopolitan. I’m Not Ashamed of Being Fired.
In a Q&A with Cosmo, Abramson talks about life after the Times and offers good advice to young journos. For example:
I taught at Yale for five years when I was managing editor and what I tried to stress for students interested in journalism, rather than picking a specialty, like blogging or being a videographer, was to master the basics of really good storytelling, have curiosity and a sense of how a topic is different than a story, and actually go out and witness and report. If you hone those skills, you will be in demand, as those talents are prized. There is too much journalism right now that is just based on people scraping the Internet and riffing off something else.
It all comes back to storytelling.