chapter  7
15 Pages

Be Skeptical

WithRich Martin

If your mother says she loves you, check it out is a maxim all good journalists subscribe to. Said another way: Trust but verify. Reporters want to be first with a story, but the best ones know they must first be right. In Chapter 7, young journalists will learn that they must always be skeptical of information they’re given and of documents they obtain. Refusing to make assumptions or jump to conclusions will help them sort truth from lies and facts from rumors. Young journalists will also learn how important it is to apply objective, almost scientific methods to test the validity of information they’re given. The skeptical journalist asks questions and tests assumptions, and is always open to being persuaded by new facts. By contrast, a cynical journalist already knows – or thinks he knows – the answers to his questions about a person or an event, and nothing he hears will change his mind. Skepticism nurtures good journalism; cynicism suffocates it.