Monday, September 03, 2007

Real Reporting 

The September 3 Pioneer Press carries an article by Maricella Miranda about lost and found items at the Minnesota State Fair. You may think this story is irrelevant but if it is your parent, Ipod, cell phone, wallet, money, etc. it is important. The number of lost children (lost parents?) decreases every year: 459 in 1995, 143 in 2006. The number of missing adults has also decreased from 162 in 1994 to 102 in 2006. What accounts for the decrease? Cell phones.

As of Friday, August 31, there were 420 missing items, including a substantial number of electronic devices and wallets, all stored in a locked area. People even turn in wads of cash to the Care & Assistance Center. If you have lost something, contact them. (651.642.2202) You have up to 30 days to make your claim. After that, valuable items are donated to worthy causes.

Susan Warren of the Wall Street Journal wrote about competitive horticulture, the plant division dedicated to "Who can grow the biggest: pumpkin, squash, etc."She covers the special seeds, experiments in fertilizer, hand-pollination, etc. Did you know the huge pumpkin vines are 25 feet across at the base? The goal is to raise a one-ton pumpkin! Fascinating reading.

In both instances, the reporters selected a topic, gathered key facts, and interviewed key people about a story and let the story emerge versus the current punditry approach to journalism, the one that selects facts to support a "reporter's" preconceived idea. These stories are good examples of real reporting. They are fascinating, informative, well-written and give the reader the opportunity to learn something new and make their own decision.