Dear Public, there are other ways to learn besides taking classes

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What the public says about ignorant and incompetent reporters: "The reporters just come and go; by the time they learn something about us they are shifted to another beat." ... "The stories she writes about us are so oversimplified and distorted we'd rather not have any coverage at all." ... "I don't expect him to be a doctor, but couldn't they give us somebody who had at least one course in human biology" (From Best Practices for Newspaper Journalists 23).

The first quote is an understandable opinion.  However, I have trouble agreeing with the last two quotes.  In regards to the second quote, sometimes stories have to be oversimplified for others to be able to read and fully understand it.  If I read a story about a medical breakthrough, I probably would not understand any of it if it weren't oversimplified.  The majority of people reading newspapers are not medical experts so the same might relate to them as well.

The third quote is the one I disagree with the most.  When I take a class that is completely unrelated to my interests, I forget what I learned in it when the class is finished.  If this person expects someone reporting on biology to have taken a course in it, what good will that do?  The reporter may not remember anything and it would be as useless as someone who had never taken a course.  It is easier to check reliable internet sources or, as Haiman states, "A regular series of brown-bag lunches with local experts can help a staff build baseline knowledge on a variety of topics" (26).

I really liked this suggestion which Haiman provides.  Sometimes it is easier to learn and retain information in a more casual environment since questions can be asked and a genuine interest may then exist.  Also, the knowledge would be more recent and accurate when applied to a reporter's news story.


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