No Fear



This post idea comes from John L. Robinson. I found this post from Robinson in February and it got me thinking.

Robinson talks of what he calls “no fear,” and I’d have to agree with him.

It’s something that’s hard to explain, but Robinson does an excellent job with:

“Not to be afraid to ask anyone anything. Not to cower when a source finds the question impertinent. Not to back away when the source threatens to call their boss or their teacher. Not to be intimidated if the source snaps at them. And, of course, not to be nervous to set up an interview with anyone.”

I don’t think I could have said that any better myself. He’s exactly right on all counts. As reporters, we cannot be afraid. Of course, there are times when we will be afraid, but we have to push forward.

I have come across abrasive and intimidating sources since I started at the Chronicle. It’s not something I dwell on. It’s a part of my job and I push through it. I treat them just as I would any other source. I ask the tough questions and I do my job. End of story.

If you are shy Robinson lays it all out on the table for us.

“They could simply be shy…or to have more compassion than previous generations. But if they want to be journalists, they need to leave that timidity behind. They shouldn’t become assholes, as Steve Buttry aptly puts it, but they do have a job to do. (One thing I do is show them Amy Cuddy’s TED talk about body language and faking it until you make it.)”

This is all something to seriously consider before you become a reporter/journalist. This is what you’ll have to expect to do on a daily basis. There are no teachers per say to help you. Your editors will not hold you by your hand and walk you through every story.

There is a level of expectation, I’m sure, at every paper. The bigger the paper the sharper the learning curve probably is.

In college, they tell you about this, but it’s not really thrown at you, as it should be.

Do the best you can. That’s all anyone can ask for.


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