The Central Problem with Reporting

This is way too good a comment to leave in a Hacker News comment thread.  Mixmax says:

While I agree with your sentiment the real world isn’t so simple.

The primary qualification of a good reporter is access. Access to sources, access to documents, access to hints from people in power and access to confront and interview people in power.

For a reporter there’s a fine line between gaining and keeping access and using it to do reporting. Access relies on trust, reporting often relies on breaking it.

Since people in power have the ability to cut you out of the loop you need to be very careful about what you write else you’ll find that your calls aren’t being returned, you aren’t being invited to press conferences and can’t get interviews. Which makes you useless as a reporter.

My emphasis.

A really good reporter is, basically by definition, someone that no politician should ever speak to under any circumstances.  And politicians do understand that, and absolutely prey on the fact that reporters have to play ball in order to gain access.


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