On 11 Feb 2014, Thomas Jackman, of The Washington Post, shared with communication students reporting techniques and tales from 25 years as a "cops and courts" reporter. Jackman now writes the Post's "State of NOVA" blog for the region's 2 million Northern Virginia residents.
"It's all about content," he said. "My job is to find stories that are interesting and relevant and that help people. The way I look at it, the readers pay my salary."
For this guest speaker, the department created a combined class session for students enrolled in Writing Across the Media, a foundation journalism course, and Online Journalism, an advanced media course. The presentation was conducted initially as an interview between Jackman and the course professors, followed by a question and answer session with students.
Students heard Jackman describe how he builds news stories through research, good sources, observation and "asking lots of questions."
Senior Ali Alamahdi asked Jackman if he thought the Post was truly "fair and balanced." He replied that there is no conscious, liberal slant at the paper but that some stories may seem slanted. "Most reporters are dedicated to telling the story accurately. That's what we are trained to do."
In addition to writing "State of NOVA," Jackman also teaches Media Coverage of the Criminal Justice system this semester as an adjunct faculty.
February 21, 2014