We regret the departure of Ashley Archibald, our staff writer for the past couple of years, but with that comes the arrival of our new writer, Ameera Butt.
So, last week Q-Line asked: What words of advice would you give Ameera as she begins her tenure with the Daily Press and why?
Here are your responses:
“My advice, along with wishes of good luck, to Ameera are to use her predecessor Ashley Archibald as her role model. That way we will continue to be able to expect fair and accurate, unbiased and complete reports of community meetings and activities. Good luck.”
“Ameera, please ask the Daily Press publisher to provide you with a laptop with a battery so that when you cover meetings at City Hall, the staff doesn’t have to keep warning you that the power cord from your computer is creating a tripping hazard.”
“Welcome Ameera Butt and good luck. Please never use the expression ‘very unique’ and don’t rely only on spell check to have a column without spelling mistakes.”
“Your reporter should understand that the political party, Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights, has ruled our town for 35 years. Since our city has 70 percent renters, their rent control propaganda insures that they continue running everything. Every department is controlled by this bunch of crooked commies. The City Council, Planning Department, Rent Control, City Attorney’s Office, school board and everyone else is a SMRR. So if you want to complain about our town being sold out to tourism and big developers, and the traffic and costs have gone crazy, then the real problem is that SMRR is so powerful that everyone is afraid to even say anything bad about them!”
“Read the Mirror. I am being serious, not snarky.”
“When issues regarding underserved youth and gang activity are in the forefront, don’t run to Oscar de la Torre for quotes! At this point, he causes more harm than good. Why not seek input from Tony Vazquez on the City Council, Maria Leon-Vazquez (can anyone spell nepotism?) and Jose Escarce on the school board.”
“I think it’s a very good idea, critical, that the new writer not go in with a jaundice view. I used to be a landlord in the city of Samolicious and not all landlords are bad. Let’s have more of an input about good food. And of course more entertainment things because my son is an actor, and a fine one at that.”
“Be a journalist; get both sides of the story. Don’t just print one-sided press releases from the city. Check with the residents affected. If someone says he’s in favor of a development on X Street, ask him whether he has a financial interest in the project. Is he its architect, lawyer, investor? There’s an old reporter’s joke: ‘If your mother says she loves you, check it out.’ Trust, but verify.”
“The very best thing Ms. Butt can do is not follow in the footsteps of Ms. Archibald. Gushing of unearned praise on political hacks and City Hall development scams is not the way of an intrepid reporter. Journalism professors now teach up-and-coming students that they are here to save the world by changing it to Socialist-approved educational mumbo jumbo. Nowadays reporters are taught to feel entitled to lead the unwashed masses towards a so-called new age educational view. The job of a good reporter is to get the facts of an event. Dig in hard against the hypocrisy and complacency of both public and private slugs. Give people the information they need to make an informed decision.”
“It seems to me that many modern reporters forget the first rule of reporting, that is, report the story fairly without injecting their own beliefs (it’s OK if you are a columnist, of course). Remember when some famous reporters wouldn’t tell anyone to which party they belonged or didn’t even vote to show that they were fair? Sadly, that was a long time ago. Now, in the modern world, reporters often think that it’s completely OK to be on one side or the other. So, my advice:
1. Fairly tell both sides of the story and always seek out someone from the other side and report it in the article. Listen well.
2. If the subject of your article quotes statistics, check the statistics out. The same if they reference surveys (a survey from Rand Corp., for instance, might carry a heavier weight because of better methodology than a survey done by a partisan group).
3. Don’t show your own bias by consciously or unconsciously using different adjectives or adverbs to describe the different sides or personalities referred to in your article. The reader should not be able to tell on which side you might personally fall.
4. Try to control the headline of your article (many newspapers who had a stake in open sources had headlines about Bradley Manning saying “Manning Acquitted” while ignoring, at least in the headline, that he was convicted on all the remaining charges).
5. Always be wary of what politicians say and check their statements.
Good luck, Ameera Butt.”