milnews.ca said:I have no beef with the reporters who do the job, I have a beef with those who, in your words, write while "uniformed, lazy or ignorant" re: what they're covering. Without as full a picture as one can collect, how can one explain it properly?
Well, not a lot of reporters are 'specialists' - most are general assignment (GA), which means today it's a house fire, tomorrow it's city council, next day it's a university funding announcement, to be followed by a police-involved shooting. I'm not an expert in structural fires, municipal governance, post-secondary funding or ballistics analysis, but I don't HAVE to be. I just have to know someone who IS and ask them intelligent questions if I don't understand something.
The budget ain't there at most outlets to add a military specialist to a staff, nor is there a lot of call for it in cities without a substantial CF presence. The secret to reporting is to do your homework, ask questions and put in the legwork. Many don't - I've seen stuff coming out of Afgh that makes me cringe professionally as well as personally. I've always found it's just as easy to get it right. And even of the handful of beat reporters who cover the military in Canada for teh debbil MSM , I can't think of one that ever wore the uniform - not that that is necessarily a hindrance, provided you can do your job properly.
That said, it's a difficult beat. There is next to no public access or transparency to DND the way there is with a city council, a university, a hospital or just about any other institution you care to mention, you can't just wander around a base looking for stories without getting picked up by the MPs, the process to get clearance to talk to someone who wants to talk to you can be ludicrously complex and is entirely shut down during an election, there's OPSEC and everything else, and it is damn difficult to deal with these people – there isn't a 13-year-old girl in the world with thinner skin and feelings that bruise more easily than your average Maj.-Gen when they don't like a story, even when there's nothing actually wrong with the story. They're entirely too used to dealing with people in their COC, and more than once I've had to whip out a notebook and sketch out a basic wiring diagram ("Look, I'm not IN it!") to illustrate that point.