Over recent months I've been intrigued, wondering where the journalists employed by our national media find their stories. The tertiary courses and the journalism textbooks discuss the process of building contacts, talking with and to community leaders and interest groups so that, armed with a "black book" of contacts the journalist can establish the backgrounds and the bases for the stories that are passed on to him or her or, by dint of individual enquiry, can be substantiated and probed with some degree of depth.
However, that text book and journalism course idea is a myth, an ideal from the past, for the reality of our present is, according to a young journalist informant, that the news room journalist is a passive actor in the news gathering process. Today the young journalist is told to, and instructed in the process of, explore the chat rooms of Trade Me and the snippets from a small, quite limited, recommended list of blogs.
The limited range of blogs recommended to my informant did not inspire confidence in the investigative powers of the journalists or the policies of the papers concerned for the sites were all heavily slanted towards the right-wing blogs and the "celebrity sex life speculation" snippet blogs.
One would assume that the editorial policy of the media is to concentrate on the celebrity scandal, the weird and idle gossip then such "news" gathering is acceptable but if one wants more from the media then a diet of Trade Me chat and the salacious "snidery" of the Farrar-Slater blogs one would expect our journalists and media to be far more proactive and responsible.