Tuesday, May 20, 2014

You might not be a particularly good journalist if you don't actually read other journalists

Mollie Hemingway
There are days when I am especially thankful to God for diverting me to seminary before I could put my bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism to work. This is one of those days.

It is becoming painfully apparent that most "journalists" today live in a world entirely alien to that of normal people. Writing for The Federalist yesterday, Mollie Hemingway, that rare specimen of a real journalist, called out snarky Washington Post reporter Chris Cizilla after he offered a vivid illustration of the alternate reality in which so many of the "mainstream media" folk live. Her article prompted clueless Religion News Service correspondent David Gibson (to whom I am no relation, as I made clear to Mollie lest she think the less of me) to pitch a Twitter fit. However, his attempt to rehabilitate his WaPo colleague and refute Mrs. Hemingway's critique had one glaring shortcoming.
Among the many interesting things displayed by these tweets, those who read my piece know that half of it was devoted to discussing the political movement to change the definition of pregnancy. Therefore, Gibson’s tweet “WaPo article seems absolutely fine. When do you think pregnancy begins? Is there a debate?” suggests that he didn’t even read my article before claiming he was unconvinced by it.
It's been 25 years, but I still remember one of the essential lessons taught in my journalism classes, that it is every bit as important to read as it is to write. An informed journalist is a particularly good journalist. An uninformed one is, well, somewhat below average.

In a Twitter fight with Mollie Hemingway, below average journalist David Gibson is way out of his league.