Steve Brill: “I knew nothing about the subject”

This encapsulates what I love about journalism — it’s as much about writing as figuring out the facts and making sense of it:

“That’s in large part because I knew nothing about the subject, literally nothing about the subject. If I have one virtue, it’s that I’m not intimidated to dive into things that I know nothing about. I’m never afraid to ask really stupid questions at the beginning. When I’m interviewing people and they use acronyms, I always stop them and say, “What does that mean?” even though it’s an acronym that’s branded onto their forehead because they use it every day. I used to teach my reporters that. I remember when Connie Bruck started on her great Mike Milken piece that then became a book, she knew nothing about what a junk bond was. She literally couldn’t have told you in the simplest terms what a junk bond was, and I said, “Well, who cares? You’re smart. You’ll figure it out. Just ask people what a junk bond is.””

via ProPublica

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