September 1, 2009
The Second-Day Story
Even as the news business fluxes and freaks out, its history and culture continue to provide useful tools for thinking about the world. This probably shouldn’t be a surprise, as journalists have been in the thinking-about-the-world business for a long time.
I think what we need is something a bit different from explainers. I don’t have a term for it, except maybe for “anticipators.” The reporter does not just report on what just happened, or even look back a stretch. The reporter needs a crystal ball, based upon solid research and continuing coverage.
The old PM daily writers knew how to do this and we may have to return to those thrilling days of yesteryear: that is to learn how to write a second day story on the first day. Keep up the great work, pal.
Emphasis mine. How great is that? “Write a second-day story on the first day.”
First, it definitely flows into Matt’s five concrete steps to improve the news—particularly number four, “track the unknowns.”
Second, it’s so much bigger than news! Isn’t that what great science fiction is? Isn’t that what we try to do here at Snarkmarket at least some of the time? “Write a second-day story on the first day.”
P.S. Yes, I realize I just implicitly compared journalism to science fiction. Oops.