Journalism Students Reluctant to do the Heavy Lifting?
June 9th, 2005 by JTJ

Floyd J. McKay,
a journalism professor emeritus at Western
Washington University, and a regular contributor to the Seattle Times
editorial pages, suggests that today's journalism students lack the
right stuff to do difficult reporting.  In “
The hardscrabble roots of investigative journalism,” he says: “Journalism students, at least in my experience, are less interested in
hard-scrabble reporting and more interested in supporting roles.”

He also says:

“…The cost of uncovering a big story can be stupendous, often
involving lawyers and computer experts as well as reporters,
photographers and editors.

Most papers would rather spend the money on airplane tickets to
cover their region's NFL or NBA teams, or so entertainment writers can
make pilgrimages to Hollywood. These investments are more likely to
attract readers, which in turn attract advertising dollars. The
intensely bottom-line newspaper chains rarely appear on the honor roll,
but always appear at the top of the profit-margin charts.

More of these investigative awards are won through the use of
computer-assisted reporting, often involving the use of complex
databases. A prize-winning team typically includes at least one
journalist who specializes in this work, and often another who
specializes in displaying the product graphically.”

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