Thursday, July 10, 2008

Challenges to investigative reporting

Reporters are always asking for more time on their stories. We love deadlines and how they keep us focused, but they chafe like thongs filled with sandpaper. So when given an investigative assignment with a 6 week deadline, a reporter may cheer with delight at first. Soon, though, with the immediacy of the news pushed far into the background, a reporter may become fascinated with other important projects, like: The Colbert Report, Gchatting, Scrabulous games with family members, or washing curry stains off your clothes from a Thai accident last night. Yes, the work almost seems superfluous and unnecessary. I think: I don't see a deadline, so why am I working so hard again? But although from a distance that deadline looks small, I know as it gets closer it's going to get bigger and fatter, like an Exxon oil tanker hosting an obesity convention racing towards my unprepared (and rocky) coastline. Better get to it.

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