Saturday, February 12, 2011

This book may be worth reading ...

Why CBS News, and Everyone Else, Needs to Remember Mike Wallace

Read it all here at the Huffington Post.
Recently, I had the honor of collaborating with the legendary 60 Minutes star in writing a guidebook aimed at young journalists. Our book, Heat and Light, was written in the hope that we could help educate budding reporters on how to do journalism right. Our idea was to produce a readable, concise book that crystallizes the best practices in the business, and passes on some of the techniques that made Mike's storied career so remarkable. After all, Mike may be retired now, but arguably no living journalist has had as long or as meaningful a career -- or is more worth emulating.
While Mike has written two memoirs, he's never before explained his views on how journalism should actually be practiced. And as a CBS News producer-turned-journalism professor, I knew first-hand exactly which questions students most need answered, and how radically their experiences with today's media differed from best practices. So Mike and I created this guide for anyone who's starting out. We culled our own experiences, and incorporated tips from two dozen other people, including journalists like Scott Pelley and the top editors of the New York Times and Washington Post. And we try to help budding reporters not only by explaining those key concepts in journalism, but by providing step-by-step instructions young journalists can use as they prepare stories.
Why the title Heat and Light? Mike says the best journalism contains both what he calls heat -- meaning emotion and drama -- and light -- meaning fresh information. And it's the combination of both heat and light in a story that makes it truly great. In fact, that very combo has been the secret formula to the long-term success of 60 Minutes. And if Jeff Fager can work his magic and focus the whole news division on creating reports with Mike Wallace's sense of heat and light, it may just be what pulls CBS News out of the doldrums.