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Central to the act of journalism is the act of reporting. Journalism cannot exist without reporting, without reporters who are willing to dig up information in all sorts of unlikely places and from all sorts of unlikely people. Nothing matters in journalism without reporting.
That’s why this book was written. Students who have an interest in journalism should -- must -- understand that good reporting is the core. Intelligent, insightful, efficient gathering of information. Information that is original, relevant, important and useful.
Journalism doesn’t exist without it.
Reporting is hard work. It is frustrating and difficult. Reporters are constantly called upon to use their wit and imagination, to think of where information is and who has it -- and then to persuade those who have it to give it up. Reporters do not have subpoena power. They cannot compel sources to part with their information.
So a reporter must sell the source on the importance of what the reporter is doing.
None of that is easy.
But reporting, hard as it is, can also be fun and exciting. It can take a young person to places he or she would never see otherwise. It can put the reporter in touch with the most interesting people on earth. It gives the reporter a front-row seat on the human condition.
It’s not always a pretty picture, but it is almost inevitably interesting and enlightening.
This book is part of the Tennessee Journalism Series.