Monday, November 28, 2005

Reporting vs. "Reporting"

Glenn Reynolds calls this "reporting" and notes, "We're certainly seeing more bloggers-turned-Mideast-reporters lately."

Ahem. If this dispatch were handed to me by a person who called himself a reporter, I'd chuck it back at him and tell him to go back and get me a story. Wandering around a city with a guide, noting the squalor, reading some signs and remarking that children played in the street and smiled does not count as reporting. It is Third World tourism.

Look, it's all well and good that Michael Totten is in Lebanon for some reason. It's great that he's read up on his Lebanese, Syrian and Israeli history. But if he wants to be a real reporter, you know, the kind that Reynolds and his ilk take pains to sneer at ad nauseum, he needs to actually stop talking to his guide and start engaging the people who live there. Knock on some doors. Talk to the shopowners. Find out what they really think. Find a soldier. Talk to him. Talk to an NGO. Find everyone you can grab and later fashion something that resembles some sort of truth.

Otherwise, you're left with an amateurish travelogue, not reporting.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 3:36 PM

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