Beats are fundamental to journalism, but our foundation is crumbling. Whole huge agencies of the federal government and, for many news organizations, the entirety of state government go uncovered. There are school boards and city councils and planning commissions that have not seen a reporter in years. The outrageous salaries that were paid to Bell, California city officials—close to $800,000 to the city manager, for example—would not have happened if just one competent reporter had been covering that city hall in Southern California. But no one was, and it took an accidental set of circumstances for two reporters from the Los Angeles Times to reveal this scandal.The full article is here.
Dec 16, 2010
Johnston sings the praises of beats, beats on press
David Cay Johnston, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting at the New York Times, has penned an homage to the beat - and has encased it in a criticism of the way newspapers practice journalism. Here's a snippet: