Wednesday, August 17, 2005

According to court records obtained by...

Michelle Malkin has been all over a scandal about Air America and misused charity money. I agree with her that it's a story worth pursuing, as any story about misused donations to non-profits is worth following, no matter who the target is.

But, I'm a journalist. I'm even, as often as I can be, an investigative journalist. In her post, Michelle cites a publicly available court document using the phrase "according to court documents obtained by Radioequalizer/" and I just want you to know how freaking funny that phrasing is and how it shows Malkin's ignorance about investigative journalism.

See... court documents are, for the most part, something you can get by calling the lawyers involved in the case, dropping by the court house, or calling a court clerk. They're public documents. Imagine if I said that "according to documents obtained by thosethingswesay, Microsoft's profits were a Kajillion dollars in 2004." That'd be, uh... stupid, since Microsoft's 10-K for 2004 is available, freely, at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

When a real investigative journalist says they "obtained" something, it should usually be a document that is non-public, handed over by an insider who the general public wouldn't even know and that the general public would never even see, if not for the enterprising journalist involved. The phrase "obtained" is industry for "patting one's self on the back."

She got a court filing.

Big flip.


At 7:36 AM , Blogger Jessie said...

just another reason you're much better than almost everyone else at what you do. i'm keeping a list. a long list.


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