Getting the Scoop on Top Reporters

By Zagier, Alan | American Journalism Review, June 1993 | Go to article overview

Getting the Scoop on Top Reporters


Zagier, Alan, American Journalism Review


You're interviewing the chairman of a major company about corporate travel expenses. He senses your next question will be a tough one and attempts to change the subject.

"So," he says, "I see you're an avid sculptor and your husband went to Berkeley, my alma mater."

How did he know that? He may have hired a psychic or private detective. But it's more likely he subscribes to one of several services that provide biographical information on reporters and grades their interviewing, research and writing skills.

The latest is Press Profiles, offered since March through a Chicago public relations firm, Werle + Brimm. For $185, media-savvy corporate suits can obtain access to a database of "evaluations" of at least 200 reporters, editors and columnists.

According to Chuck Werle, a former Milwaukee Journal reporter who created Press Profiles, journalists are rated confidentially by executives they have interviewed. The ratings are done on a scale of 1 to 10 in eight categories, including accuracy, interviewing skills, writing ability, integrity, knowledge of subject and personality. The questionnaires conclude by asking if the executive can recommend "without qualifications" that others cooperate with the journalist.

Werle says the service, which has been attracting as many as four new subscribers each day, protects image-conscious corporate types from being caught off-guard.

"If you know something about the reporter, it is to your advantage," he explains. "So many times there's a hidden agenda. The unsuspecting CEO or chairman gets caught in a trap."

Werle declined to provide scores given to specific reporters in his database, although he did offer several tally sheets with the names blacked out. He says total scores have been averaging around 8, somewhat higher than he expected. Because numerous evaluations are usually submitted for each journalist, the impact of any individual ax grinder is diluted, he says.

Press Profiles is the newest, but not the only, service that rates journalists. From 1986 until last year, former Wall Street Journal Associate Editor Jude Wanniski had scored members of the national press in his annual "Media Guide." Wanniski, who left the Journal in 1978 to launch a financial consulting firm in New Jersey, says his guide offered constructive criticism of the work of hundreds of journalists. Each was rated on a four-star system based on accuracy, fairness, writing skills, consistency and other criteria.

Wanniski recently sold his guide to Forbes, although he remains an editor The 1993 edition sells for $19.95 and includes detailed critiques of the nation's 50 most important" journalists. In addition to continuing Wanniski's four-star system, the guide ranks the year's best stories and columns.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Getting the Scoop on Top Reporters
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.