Media Cliches - a letter to NPR Day to Day

I listened to your story about rising gas prices this afternoon and was disappointed by your coverage. It was filled with cliches and lack of creativity.

I have heard man-at-the-pump interviews for the past 6 months. It is time for journalists to come up with a new way of covering this story. Could you not interview an economist or some other expert? Hell, I’d even listen to a public relations person from an oil company if I could be guaranteed that I would not have to hear another man-at-the-pump interview.

This is lazy reporting. It fails to explain the issue it reports on, fails to give the public any additional information, and fails to delve into the very real economic issues that face America. To continue from this story to a report on the week in politics is the laziest form of reporting.

What I need to hear about is why gas prices are so high? Why has it taken so long for auto makers to produce efficient cars? Why has the government failed to invest in alternative energy, especially in comparison to the billions spent on war? So many question could be asked, but instead your correspondent and editors chose the easy way out.

I know journalism is hard. Time is short and deadlines are looming. But please take some time to plan out an investigation of the deeper issues that are causing Americans pain. Don’t tell us about the rise in gas prices every day or every week. Take a month to do a real in-depth story and then broadcast that story over days or weeks. And repeat the in-depth reporting if you have to. Just don’t be lazy.