Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Second Principle of Citizen Journalism

What is the difference between speculation and solid reporting, between passing along unverified rumors and nailing down your facts? Very often it comes down to thoroughness. This section offers advice on how to go the extra yard to inform your readers.

Professional reporters try to learn as much as they can about a topic. It's better to know much more than you publish than to leave big holes in your story. The best citizen journalist always want to make one more call, check with one more source. (And the last question to ask at all interviews is, "Who else should I talk with about this?")

In a Web-enabled world, thoroughness means more than asking questions of the people in our address books. It also means asking our readers for your input. Professionals tend not to do this; citizen journalists can be less concerned with competitive issues and more concerned with getting it right.

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