I had an interesting exchange via facebook today about one of my pet peeves — the dying art of legwork in journalism.
I’m not talking about online research or phone interviews. I’m talking about getting off your ass and making the rounds of city hall, the courthouse, the cop shop or wherever you beat ought to take you.
I was harping about the tendency of young journalists to rely too much on virtual coverage. In other words, the Internet and telecommunications.
A colleague pointed out — and rightfully so — that technology should serve as a complement to good old fashioned legwork.
I agreed and admitted that, dinosaur that I am, I have come to embrace technology. I’ve come to realize that it’s a good thing. As long as it’s not the only thing.
Sadly, the increasing demands of the job have forced us to rely on technology more and more. Journalists everywhere are being pushed to be more “productive.” It’s come to the point that a lot of journalists, myself included, are being pressed to perform menial tasks once handled by typists and office managers. Consequently, we can’t do our jobs effectively and the process and the product suffer.
Right along with the people’s right to know.