Tony Messenger spoke to a “News Media Ethics and Social Responsibilities” class at the University of Missouri today, and said that a good journalist must do three things:
1) Be courageous. A journalist be willing to confront those in positions of power, even if doing so could be an intimidating experience, as might especially be the case for a younger journalist.
2) Be persistent. Stay on the story until you have the full story, even if the facts are not immediately forthcoming, or certain people try to get in your way.
3) Get it right. Knowing and reporting the facts serves not only the public but also gives you credibility with sources and subjects. Whenever possible, rely on documents to prove your case.
Good lessons from a veteran Missouri reporter.