Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pulitzer Prize winner Garcia shares top strategies for investigative reporting

Long-time investigative journalist Manny Garcia says journalism students are getting into the business at the right time, and need to be prepared for the "baseball bat they're inheriting." His ten tips offer guidance to students and a refresher for seasoned journalists.

  1. "Operate honestly, transparently, and with integrity.
  2. If you’re denied access to information, get it in writing. Ask for the statute that denies access.
  3. Understand the laws in the state you work in.
  4. Knowledge is power—The more you know, the harder it is for someone to spin you or give you a line of crap.
  5. We need to impeach dishonesty.
  6. Find the protagonist who’s going to carry your story.
  7. If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, let your editor know. Bring someone with you.
  8. Make sure your source sees your note pad and understands you’re doing a story, so there are no misgivings.
  9. Look for animosities in relationships.
  10. If you’re writing a tough story about someone, let them know early."

Garcia, who is now Executive Editor/Director of el Nuevo Herald, spoke to students at Washington and Lee University March 18, 2010. His visit was sponsored by the Donald W. Reynolds foundation.

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