1. Do your homework, and then do some more.

The following is a work in progress.

You can’t know everything, but good 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 reporters always want to make one more call, check with one more source.

I had a rule of thumb as a reporter. I tried to tell roughly 10 percent of what I knew in any story. That is, I was so overloaded with facts and information that I had to be extremely selective, not to hide things but to illuminate what really mattered.

Although the digital world gives us more reporting tools, none of them replace old-fashioned methods such as making phone calls, digging through paper records, and, of course, in-person interviews. Shoddy research, moreover, can happen online and offline. What matters is to keep reporting until you get the information that is critical, not just what is on the surface.

Publication in the online sphere is only the first step. Then you discover what I learned as a journalist covering technology in Silicon Valley: Your readers collectively know vastly more than you do. Learn from them, and revise your work accordingly.

Next: #2 Get it right, every time.

One Response to “1. Do your homework, and then do some more.”
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