I was in attendance of a speech given by Jeff Cooke in my Public Administration course. I found that the speech was enlightening and educational. Cooke’s introduction made me anticipate Cooke’s speech. The preview that was given let me know that Jeff Cooke was a man in the business of reporting who was of prestige. The introduction showed that Cooke was also a man of importance. Also, the prelude to Cooke’s speech let me know that Cooke is a trusted professional who would be able to inspire the class as a whole.
During the speech, Cooke discussed the characteristics of a good reporter. Cooke brought up a good point about “feeding the beast”. He informed the class that in order to “feed the beast”, the beast being impatient supervisors that want to have the most accurate story and an audience that also want to know everything there is to know about the story that is breaking. To be a good reporter, a person must be able to be brave. They must be ready to see the good, the bad and the ugly and be able to deal with all three. Also, knowing the main players of the story by doing the research, tracking them down, and being able to be an expert source for the people who will be reading the story helps to make a reporter a viable, reliable source that will be counted on for professional, dependable reporting for years to come.
Cooke explained that good reporting must be rigorous and he also gave us static examples of why good reporting should be done in a demanding manner. Most of the hardcore reporting that is performed is performed on public officials. One of the main reasons why reporting is so stringent on public officials is because of what is being revealed in the lives of those whom are supposed to be serving and improving the lives of people in the community. Through the speech, and from turning on my television, I have learned that public officials are caught doing the most unethical things. One of the most common violations that civic leaders are caught doing is via the use of the internet. As part of the speech Cooke showed the class a video about coverage of important public representatives who were using the internet to their advantage while they were supposed to be in important meetings and hearings. The video let me become more aware that public officials are not as pristine as they claim or are viewed to be, and thus should be inspected on a regular basis. The officials’ professional lives, as well as the private lives of community officials, need to be checked on a regular basis, via interviews and secret investigations, to make sure that officials are staying in line and not abusing their authority.
One of the main reasons for strict reporting is because of what happened over 40 years ago; the Watergate scandal. Cooke informed the class that Watergate was one of the most influential factors in how reporting is conducted now versus how reporting use to be in the era of Kennedy and the start of Nixon’s term. Cooke also informed the class that stringent reporting was encouraged, not only by the reporters’ supervisors, but also by the public and thus came into activation after the Watergate scandal.
I appreciated that Cooke took the time out of his busy schedule to speak to my Public Administration class. He gave valued insight into what it takes to be a top notch reporter and why reporters are an important asset to the public.