Come Together Right Now

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At the very beginning of the textbook, “The News About the News: American Journalism in Peril” by Leonard Downie Jr. and Robert G. Kaiser, the authors relay the infamous Watergate tale every journalism professor loves to quote.

Having had Carl Bernstein as a professor, I am very familiar with the tale of heroic reporting and tireless investigations.

The book once again drove in the whole point of this game I’m playing…good journalism.

“Good journalism holds communities together in times of crisis, providing the information and the images that constitute shared experience. When disaster strikes the news media give readers and viewers something to hold on to–facts, but also explanation and discussion that can help people deal with the unexpected.”

Watergate is the quintessential example of good journalism. Woodward and Bernstein didn’t stop asking questions when sources refused to comment. They didn’t immediately go after the key players. Instead, they talked to secretaries and lower ranked employees. They went back time and time again. In the evening so as to not make sources feel watched. They did the ground work and were rewarded.

The affect of that story being the public was given accurate, fair reports on what happened. From that, the system worked together, as Professor Bernstein boasted.

Their persistent, thorough reporting lead to the resignation and near impeachment of a corrupt leader. And that’s what it took–good journalism.

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