I’m not a reporter, nor am I journalist. I’ve never aspired to be either one. Like most bloggers (and most people), my knowledge of the press comes simply from reading newspapers, and thinking about the stories they publish. Not too long ago, readers expected reporters to ask officials serious, pertinent questions. There have always been reporters willing to roll over for officials, but Americans didn’t consider this the norm.
There are still good newspapers nearby (Journal Sentinel, State Journal, Cap Times, and the Gazettes, so to speak, of Janesville and Walworth County). There just aren’t as many good newspapers as there used to be.
Fortunately, there’s the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, setting a worthy standard for reporting, for the kinds of stories that both professionals and lay readers (like me) respect and appreciate. There’s a link to the Center on the left side of this website.
In a newly-released report, the Center’s Allie Tempus and Nick Pensenstadler write about the number of people injured in boating accidents in Wisconsin. See, 16 Die, But Boating Safety Stalls in Legislature.
The story’s solid for three reasons: it’s well-written, well-researched with thorough data on accidents in Wisconsin, and it places Wisconsin’s requirements into a national context.
A good story transcends politics, too. From my view, I would oppose legislation that required adults to wear life vests, although the story implies that vest requirements would improve safety. As with helmets, I think that adults should make these decisions on their own. It’s foolish not to wear a vest, but adults should have that choice.
Requirements for children are different, as they are imposed on those without an adult’s judgment. (There’s a second question about whether parents should make these decisions for their children, but not all children boating are with their parents.)
A good story, like this one, has an obvious value for anyone, of any politics. Quality speaks for itself.