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Three Things a Journalist Can Learn from the Season Premiere of “Newsroom”

- July 18, 2013 |

This week’s post is from Stephanie Costa, Director of Client Services, taking a look at three skills essential to quality, responsible journalism.

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Here at IF, we’re big fans of HBO’s series “Newsroom,” starring Jeff Daniels as ACN’s outspoken cable news anchor, Will McAvoy. While he might be a stressful client to have in real life, Will and his “News Night” team definitely fight the good fight when it comes to bringing the public important and honest news stories.

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Here are three things every journalist can learn from last Sunday’s season premiere (SPOILER ALERT):

1) Fact Check: The series opens with a rehearsal for a legal deposition, showing the trouble “News Night” is in for reporting a false story. Mackenzie McHale even says she should have caught the falsehood before, and not after the story ran. Unless your network wants to hire a $1,500 an hour lawyer like ACN, fact check your stories, then fact check again!

2) Ask Questions: During an on-air discussion on drone strikes, a decorated military panelist goes on a tirade, and Will doesn’t interrupt, allowing the panelist’s opinion trump all others. When moderating a discussion, don’t be afraid to ask questions, or steer the discourse back to the original issue at hand. A conversation should be between more than one person!

3) Go Investigate: When Neal has a hunch that Occupy Wall Street is going to become a huge movement in the coming months, he gets the go-ahead from his producer, then sits in on a weekly meeting. He even meets with an activist one-on-one and discusses the group’s greater goals and plans. Will ACN be the first to report on the Occupy movement because of Neal’s investigating? We certainly hope so. Follow his lead by following your leads!