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Investigative reporter (sic) May 17, 2007

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Poetry.
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The investigative reporter looks at his notes as if he were a lawyer at trial
contemplating his next question to a hesitant witness.
But if the lawyers have few scruples, reporters have less.
Deception honed on the streets instead of law schools and courtrooms
and an unfinished style to match.

“When did you know?” and “What told you this was going on?” and
“Who told you about this?” are asked, rapid fire, without regard to legality or truth.
He is hoping the respondent won’t consider the former
while he sets aside the latter for the right answers.
Then it’s “Where can I find you so I can follow up?”

Commodities of this journalistic ambulance chaser are notepads, pencils and Red Bull.
Computer keyboards and the internet come later, if at all,
since time is tight and checking veracity is for editors, not for him.
Get the soiled linens out the window first then tidy them up as you go.
The damage caused by taking the lead will be forgotten.

Asking how and why of an informant is perfunctory
and the greater the familiarity, the less it is even considered.
J-school is where they talk about theory and tell you about the science.
On the street is where the art is practiced, and often poorly,
in the eyes of everyone except the perp.

This artist will never be without subjects, human nature being what it is.
And while shadow and color and nuance don’t appear to matter—
It’s rather more like watching Gallagher smash watermelons
than considering the pathos of Willy Loman—
in the end, it is really all that matters.

The audience asks itself constantly, “How many of these reporters and critics do we remember?”
And they can name maybe one or two of the famous or infamous
But people remember the incidents not who reported them.
If the reporter of the story is its centerpiece, then it isn’t a story at all.
It is simply pride going before a fall.

February 18, 2006

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