Sunday, May 20, 2007
Investigative Reporting with Tom Robbins and Eric Nalder
Tom Robbins from the Village Voice began this discussion by praising the the role of muckrakers such as Ida Tarbell and Lincoln Steffens. He said muckraker was a title that he wore proudly. Robbins stressed the importance of "saving your strings" which means filing away every piece of information that comes your way whether it seems relevant or not. You never know when random strings will tie together to make an awesome yarn.
Eric Nalder reminded the audience that the material coming to you from the source should be the beginning of the story not the end. Both panelists spoke about the need to learn how to amass information using the Freedom of Information laws.
Nalder commented that the three most important things he looks for in new journalist are:
2. organizational skills
3. computer proficiency
I was surprised when he said that knowing how to write was necessary, but not nearly as important as these other three qualities.