I need help. Those three words can make or break a reporter as we are expected to do a load of research, have information that someone else may not have, i.e. be in the loop and source build. If in my tender years a class had been offered on reporter humility and the value of input from others, especially an editor, then my life lessons would not have been warranted. However, the above three words are integral to making oneself a better and more functional journalist.
Here are some reasons why a reporter might not ask for assistance and some solutions.
- Incompetence: No one, especially a newbie, wants to look like a slacker. Most of your questions can be answered by colleagues or the internet, but sometimes you will run into situations that require a broader perspective.
- No time: A reporter’s day can be a whirlwind of activities, breaking news, emergency coverage and more. Having a few minutes to bounce ideas off of a superior is almost a luxurious dream. However, when it comes to your story it is better to make time and say hey X I need some help or here’s my quandary. Put yourself in your editor’s shoes for a moment. Would you rather spend some time helping out an employee or an hour or more fixing their mistakes?
- Pride: Having relied on your wits, drive and talents to claw your way to a post in an ever shrinking field, whether newsprint or magazines, is commendable. Nevertheless it can inflate one’s ego or attitude. Part of being a well-rounded journalist is admitting that you need help. Disregard those who believe that asking for help is showing weakness.In actuality it is quite the opposite.
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