WACO, TX — This week is National News Literacy Week. It's our chance to shine a light and show you what news is supposed to be; Transparent and honest. At 25 News, we want you to know where your news comes from, how we write the words you see and hear, and what the process is to make sure news is factual.
As a journalist, we're tasked with asking tough questions. On 25 news at five and six, we show you the story. As a viewer, you should also question us.
- How we got our answers?
- What was our process?
25 NEWS REPORTER AUSTIN WALKER'S "DAY IN THE LIFE:"
The day starts like any other job, getting ready and not looking like a slob. Next, I get on to the morning meeting with the news team. Due to COVID-19, our meeting is virtual. This is where our reporters will pitch their stories for the day and managers will decide what we work on. Once we have our assignments — we're off.
My story for the day was about Texas jobs. A report by the Texas Workforce Commission said the Abbott administration created over 50,000 more jobs in December. This raised questions, "Why are we seeing so many help wanted signs?"
I made a plan of who I wanted to talk to. Talk to the TWC that put out the report. Talk to a business that is struggling to hire even though there are more jobs. Finally talk to an expert in economics, answering the question, "Where is the disconnect?"
At 25 News -- our reporters are multimedia journalists, or MMJs. Think of it as a one-man band. We write, shoot, edit, stress out, tear up and present everything by ourselves.
I reached out to the Texas Workforce commission and left a message hoping to land an interview. I made some calls and found a restaurant that is struggling to hire. I also spoke with James West, a professor of economics at Baylor.
I didn't hear back from the commission. In journalism, you want to have at least two interviews to tell a well-rounded story. Once I get all my elements, I went to work. I wrote my script and sent it off to our management team who goes line by line through it. They fact-check, rewrite, and clear up the information. They make sure nothing can be misconstrued. Once it gets the green light, it's off to record my voice.
Then I take a coffee break because I'd be dead inside without it and have a little dance break. Then I work to compose my story. Once it's done I have to look all professional. Then it's showtime.
It's also important to remember, this job does have a lot of ups and downs, but we are a family at 25 News. So, the stressful days are all worth it.
WHY I BECAME A JOURNALIST:
- I knew I wanted to help people. I could never be a doctor, a nurse, or a scientist because of my below-average math skills. But I learned, journalism has the potential to change lives. You inform and educate. You could change policy that could save people, something that could impact their money, health, safety, or education. In the era of "Fake news," it's hard to decipher what is true and what is not. Just because it makes you mad does not mean it's not true. Local media is made of people just like you — telling you stories that also impact them.