John Drescher, the executive editor of The (Raleigh) News & Observer, writes Saturday in response to North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory’s comments earlier this week that journalists are not smart enough to understand his economic plan.
Drescher writes, “The people elected McCrory in part because they believed he would assemble a good team, listen to his advisers and move forward with what he thinks would be best.
“Journalism is similar in that most of us are generalists. We don’t consider ourselves to be experts. But we know enough to talk with smart people and ask them to explain things to us so we can explain them to readers.
“Our beat reporters don’t have Ph.D.s, but they are knowledgeable. Take Lynn Bonner, who has reported at The News & Observer for nearly 20 years. Bonner has a degree from Swarthmore in biology and previously worked as a microbiologist. She knows scientific methods and how to analyze data. She took college-level economics. But her knowledge about public finance comes mostly from having reported hundreds of budget stories over the years.
“Bonner’s stories typically are edited by Mary Cornatzer, a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill with a journalism degree. She was The N&O’s business editor for 13 years, including four years in a row when our business section was honored as one of the nation’s best by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.
“Bonner’s story could also be edited by Dan Barkin, senior editor for news and a business news junkie. Barkin has a degree in business from Old Dominion University. He’s been a newspaper publisher, overseeing a $15 million operation with a commercial-printing business.”