Sunday, June 29, 2008

Questions the press should ask

The Watchdog Blog, specializing in "questions the press should ask," comes from the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.

Why questions?

Some may wonder about our emphasis on asking questions, since politicians and most of the rest of the world – even schoolchildren – are adept at sidestepping them. What's the point of asking good questions if the answers aren't forthcoming?

First, the ability to ask appropriate questions comes only with an understanding of the subject at hand. When experts help with questions and background, they also help deepen the reporter's knowledge of the issue.

Second, targeted, insightful questions are typically more difficult for public officials, candidates and others in public life to dodge, mislead or even lie about.

Finally, the questions don't disappear simply because a president, or someone else in a high position, won't give a straight, complete answer. The answer may lie in documents or in interviews with other sources, or both. But assuredly, a key to great journalism comes mostly to reporters and editors who ask the right questions, who have a full understanding of what they are looking for and who can recognize what rings true and what doesn't.

There are some important ones here -- check them out.

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