Good Journalism Is Easy If You Try
September 10, 2012 1 Comment
Tom Edsall’s piece on the budgeting gimmicks in Paul Ryan’s budget is excellent — basically there’s a “TBA” line in the budget that allows $100 million in cuts to go unnamed — but it’s also worth highlighting because it shows how simple it is to do good, socially beneficial journalism.
Edsall’s piece is the result of asking two elementary questions. What are the most important policy-related things that are happening in the country, and what’s noteworthy or interesting about them. The Ryan budget is perhaps the most important policy issue in America. If Romney wins the election it will guide the structure of our government over the course of the next decade. And although there are many noteworthy aspects to it, a big one is that it cuts an enormous amount of spending without specifying the cuts. How does it go about doing that?
That’s it. Two questions. What’s important? What’s noteworthy about the important thing? Obviously this is an oversimplification, but reporters could avoid a lot of meaningless “savvy’ horserace journalism by sticking to these questions.