Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Something good about the Chronicle. Now that's news.

In just a few paragraphs, a letter to the Chronicle summed up what I have been trying to say about the future of news. In short, news won't have much of a future if reporting is driven more by technology than content. The important part of newspaper is NEWS, not PAPER.
I doubt Mark Thomas of Berkeley was thinking about this when he praised Chronicle reporter Justin Berton in his April 10 letter. Thomas was the climber who survived a trek on Mount Shasta that took the life of his friend, Tom Bennett.
"...the media greatly added to the anguish and suffering of myself and Tom's family through their eagerness to print or broadcast a story regardless of the accuracy of the facts or the appropriateness of the source," he wrote in commenting on Berton's story, "Climber tells of doomed descent," which was in the April 2nd edition.
Berton, he said, was willing "to wait until I was ready to talk. He was willing to talk with me on my terms without making demands for details or photo/video for a sensational story."
"It seems to me that many reporters get credit for being the first or the loudest in telling a story, and I think that these are the wrong incentives to have in reporting," Thomas wrote.
Thomas concluded by saying Breton "should get credit for waiting and producing a quality story with great sensitivity."
I was so moved by the letter that I told Breton that someday he would value the letter more than a Pulitzer.
"I already do," he messaged back.

No comments: