When you cover the industry you’re working in
Sydney Ember, the media reporter for The New York Times, writes about covering the media industry.
Ember writes, “One thing I’ve learned: Covering my own industry can be a tricky business.
“I am often asked to write about our direct competitors, including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and CNN. Many people at The Times know people at these organizations. Many also used to work at them. But what my colleagues hear over drinks with friends can sometimes be difficult for me to report out. (It’s much easier to talk to friends than reporters!)
“Because we all work in the same industry and often know the same people — and because journalists love to grumble — news and gossip are often intertwined. A question I frequently ask myself (and my editors) is whether a story would interest a general audience. If the answer is no — for example, if it involves an internal reorganization with little external impact — then it probably isn’t something I want to cover.
“And part of my job is reporting on The Times, one of the most influential news organizations in the country. The company happens to pay my salary.
“The media industry is also in a significant financial downturn. Publications have struggled to remain relevant amid the flood of information available to everyone, at any time — I frequently learn of layoffs in the media industry, now a common occurrence, on Twitter.”
Read more here.