Young, curious minds provide an advantage
By Caitlin Barnett
Lane Wallace offers up a fresh take on biased journalism in The Bias of Veteran Journalists on the Atlantic. Not conventional bias, but a new strain that plagues veteran journalists everywhere. Wallace points out that most veteran reporters are experts of their beats and have mastered their subjects. Unfortunately, this means they often form angles before collecting the facts. Interviews only fill data gaps. Fundamental questions are overlooked.
That’s where we come in. Young journalists like us aren’t experts. Not yet, at least. Wallace writes:
A friend of mine who’s an editor at the New York Times said those results don’t surprise him at all. “If you watch a White House press conference,” he said, “you can tell who the new reporters are. They’re often the ones who ask the best questions.” I must have looked a little surprised. “Seriously,” he said. “I actually think we should rotate reporters’ beats every two years, so nobody ever thinks they’re too much of an expert at anything.”
Our minds may be young, but they are curious. In this competitive market, we strive to be thorough and precise, just like j-school taught us to be. Even experts need to ask the obvious questions, which often address the subtleties. Basic, yet essential, details. We ask all the questions, because we aren’t experts. And, this time, that’s to our advantage.
What do you think, Gen Jers? Can the veterans learn something from our hard work? Do we bring a fresh perspective?