Sunday, February 23, 2014

Two Ways of Reporting

By Devan Lau

While Lillian Ross has a long experience of journalism for The New Yorker, a young reporter from a smaller newspaper with lesser experience manages to show his interesting approach to journalism. Meet Ross Markman, a reporter for the Havre Daily News in Montana.

Markman graduated with an associate’s degree from Bucks County Community College in Pennsylvania, majoring in Liberal Arts and had a part-time job at the Bucks County Courier Times doing clerical work. Markman eventually got an internship for writing, where he wrote about a local government in a small Pennsylvania town called Newtown. Despite only taking one journalism class, Markman managed to gain experience through his internship.

Unlike Lillian Ross who covers stories on famous people, Markman does his stories on the local community such as the city and county government and schools. Ross does not have a specific deadline for her stories, Markman has a very tight deadline. Surprisingly, Markman is known for his fast and quick journalism. For example, when Markman covers city council meetings, he completed his story after the meetings were over in about an hour.

Markman’s approach to covering a story is different from Ross’ approach. Before Ross writes her stories, she would choose a certain individual that would spark her interest in writing about them. Markman noted that before he writes his stories, he is required to make a plan by doing a background research on a specific meeting he is going to cover. Markman also gets the “inside scoop” from city or school officials to give him information of the issues that are going to be discussed. Markman occasionally writes specific background information on the meetings, which is known as “B-copy.” Markman stresses that this is an important preparation when covering stories on meetings. 

Markman has to decide from the meetings which information would be considered interesting to readers. Once Markman decided certain information is the most interesting, he would use it as a news lead for his stories. One of his stories covered a meeting about the city’s parking issues. Markman’s story contained various testimonies and suggestions from most of the people involved in the parking issue. Despite his shorter experience than Lillian Ross, Ross Markman is considered to be an exemplary writer on the deadline!

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