Monday, February 11, 2019

An Expert In 10 Minutes

I get that journalism requires a different pace and style than academic work. When you gotta file several times per week you can't really treat each piece as a dissertation. But there's a difference between accepting the limitations imposed by the reality of the job and the belief that you, A Journalist, have a unique ability to become an expert in any subject in about 5 hours and conversations with 2 experts. It's one trouble with the fact checking genre, which for some reason rarely limits itself to things mere mortals understand as facts, and veers into highly subjective "well my friend and Mercatus told me" territory regularly.

It takes awhile to learn a subject field. I get that journalists mostly can't be expected to do this with every subject they write about (probably elite newsrooms with resources should have more reporters on specific beats than they do but this is above my pay grade). That isn't really the problem. The problem is when journalists begin to believe they can become experts in any subject in 24 hours. Not just experts, but ur-experts, gazing down from above it all, with a level of knowledge and objectivity that mere experts can't possibly achieve because they have not been traind in Objective Journalism.