Friday, October 07, 2022

News orgs should bar their employees from writing books about what they're paid to cover, if for nothing else out of self-interest: they make money off the scoops. Reporters are garbagemen, not trash pickers. They're paid to do a job. It's cheap and sleazy, and it helps make democracy work.

A rite of passage for all young provincial journalists is known as the death knock — going and knocking on the door of a house which has just lost a family member, preferably in horrific or embarrassing circumstances. At my Newcastle course we were taught the art of charming and sympathizing one's way across the doorstep, and the absolute necessity, while taking notes, of trying to remove, preferably but not necessarily by agreement, any photos of the bereaved from the mantelpiece.

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