Tough words for new reporters
By Esther Crandall
MONCTON—A reporter who wants a job with one of Canada's
larger dailies should arrive on the editor's doorstep either with
a degree in journalism or with a fistful of clippings reflecting
lots of experience.
Laying it on the line at a Media Club of Canada seminar here March
15 was veteran newsman George Bain, now director of the University
of King's College School of Journalism.
Explaining that newspapers now pay good money and
editors rarely have time to help newcomers, Bain warned that new
reporters are expected to perform reasonably well the minute they
enter these newsrooms.
Bain said while his students are hardworking and do their assignments
on time, they do not write as well as he'd like and use spelling
These future journalists will be forced to deal with complex issues.
"They will work much harder than I did in journalism." Bain said.
"It's awful even to contemplate the difficulties television broadcasters
must overcome to deal with something like a budget, in three minutes,
and make sense to the viewer."
He did not favour a return to straight reporting. Instead, he called
for a weaving together in news stories of what someone said yesterday
with what that same person said on the same subject some time earlier.
And he advocated more analytical reporting. For example, some newspapers
accurately carried statements made by the three federal party leaders
in the last federal election. But they carried them on separate
days and failed to follow up by putting the statements together
and analyzing them.
Bain was asked to comment on the somewhat isolated feeling some
in this region have with respect to the country's media centre,
and responded by pointing to parochial reporting by some dailies.
"The Halifax Chronicle-Herald has an Ottawa bureau, but
the Ottawa stories it carries are those that relate to the Halifax
area; there is more out there than containers for the Port of Halifax,"
With a staffer in Halifax, "I think The Globe and Mail tries
to live up to its claim it is a national newspaper, but the Toronto
Star, the country's largest newspaper, carries what is of interest
to Metro Toronto," Bain said.
Published in SOURCES in May-June 1980
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