Perception as it relates to reporting

July 16, 2008

When you’re in the role of reporter, it’s sometimes difficult to keep your perceptions away from the story you’re trying to tell.

I bring this up because about 1/4 of my newspaper stories are opinion pieces and I have to wear a different hat when spouting my thoughts to an audience instead of painting a picture for them and allowing readers to reach their own conclusions.

Right now, I have three assignments for different publications and in two of the cases I’m trying to decipher the motivation behind the subjects of my article. On the face of it, the people being featured seem straightforward. But as a skeptical reporter I want to know how – if at all – they’re going to benefit from a feature article on their organization.

It’s not that the story isn’t a good one in either case. It’s that any reporter hates to be manipulated. Beyond that, I have a control issue that makes me even more inquisitive about any behind-the-scenes machinations.

Perhaps after one of these stories comes out I’ll share the details. Neither is slated to appear anytime before this fall, so my early assessments could be way off-base.

But I urge you as a reporter/chronicler of events and people, to take things with a grain of salt and to double- and triple-check everything you’re told and that you think you know.

You might find out that the woman who saved that drowning kitten was the same person that tossed the kitten into the drink to begin with.

Keep reading!