I have never stopped documenting life as it unfolded before me. Whether I was writing the family news and views letters, or taking pictures at every family, friends, or office event, I was compelled to capture the Who, What, When, Where, and Why, which were the basic questions at the tip of the tongue of every journalist back when I first got acquainted with the subject in the late 1950s. Through my junior year of high school I wrote for the school paper and the following year was very involved in working on our yearbook.
For many years I recall watching the Nightline program and listening to Ted Koppel as he reported on all that was going on in the world from 1980-2005. Of all the words that came forth from this serious man with a generous crop of reddish brown hair, what I remember best, with amusement, was when he responded to what must have been a frequently asked question without saying he was not wearing a toupee, that yes, it was real and it is his own. Today it is still thick, but white.
Not only have people changed, but the world has changed incredibly from a few decades ago and I expect that today Journalists still dig for the facts and pursue their stories doggedly, but the advent of digital filming has changed the way we get the information and Mr. Koppel, recently a guest on the Tavis Smiley show, said he did not feel that the immediacy of broadcast video live from the scene was real journalism. His was the school of all the news that’s fit to print. A reporter would gather the story, the facts, the pictures, then come back to his or her desk and type it all out and the story would be reviewed by a copy editor to be sure there were no mistakes in the grammar and spelling and the editor in chief would have the final say if the story would actually get to press.
I do get that something happening and spilling out right before our eyes is considerably different from the days of getting the facts, developing some photographs, writing the story, having it edited and reviewed before it was put to print was really different. Perhaps the older way of documenting a story was a surer way of getting all the facts, not just viewing a scene which is then open to individual interpretations and not necessarily an accurate or complete account of a situation.
As technology screams forward, I imagine that news sharing around the world will continue to evolve and while it may or may not provide us with outstanding bards in the business, the bottom lines of who, what, when, where and why will probably continue to pour forth enough to satisfy the general public who won’t likely have the time or interest in news in depth.