Sarah Jones [sarahjreports]
What is your specialty? What subjects do you deal with?
The responsibility of serving the public is what makes me most proud to be a journalist. My passion is under reported news, under reported angles, international current affairs and investigative hard hitting journalism. Most recently I wrote about how US soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with an untreatable and incurable lung disease are being dismissed as out of shape because their lung function tests appear normal. Please if you ever come across any information you think people may want to know regardless of the subject matter you can email me at sarahjonesreports at gmail dot com.
Link to the Article on Us Soldiers Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan: http://www.channel4.com/news/mystery-lung-illness-affecting-iraq-and-afghanistan-veterans
In which media do you presently work or have you worked?
As a freelancer I work across all platforms: radio, television, online and print. I write for ITN News (Channel 4 in the UK), Gulf News and have worked for the BBC World Service and ABC 7 News in my hometown of Chicago.
Please list a web address where where one can view an example of your work.
What is "news"?
News is a public service first and foremost. What qualifies as news is anything that is timely, relevant to one's audience and helps to maintain an informed public.
To you, what is objectivity?
This is a good question. The most essential element of objectivity is humanity and strong listening skills. By this I mean the ability to listen, understand and comprehend in the absence of judgement. At the end of the day we're all just souls in a human experience and objectivity requires being able to listen to others with this thought.
Conveying the story then requires an intention, preparation and process. How do I go about trying to achieve objectivity within my work? My intention is to present the strongest argument for all sides of an argument. My preparation is knowing the subject matter well enough to know the various arguments, knowing my audience well enough to take into consideration preconceived notions, knowing society well enough to be aware of the connotations words and phrases carry, and being honest and critical of myself. The process is the interviewing, analyzing, critiquing and listening. At the end of my career I want to be able to say that I always did my best when it came to my work because journalism, information...it is a matter of life and death in some cases.
What is the best headline you have ever read?
I like funny headlines especially clever witty ones
What headline would you like to see printed one day in the newspaper?
Which paper do you buy on Sundays? Where do you read it?
I read all my papers online, and tend to look at Gulf News, Khaleeja Times, Times of India, New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, The Guardian, Independent, Arab News, China Daily, and many others.
Does freedom of expression end where the editorial line begins?
Freedom of expression is essential within any democracy. Journalism is necessary to helping maintain an informed public and without news the doorway to tyranny is open.
Do you feel that analytical and investigative journalism is being lost?
News organizations in the US at least seem to have lost sight of their purpose because of the economic strains. There seems to be less public service and more hype. I don't think it's lost because people are turning to the internet to find investigative and analytical journalism. I think TV news organization have to find themselves again. In doing so, they will find that it's not that the American public has lost interest in knowing about what's going on in the world. It's just that in a day and age where astronauts are able to tweet pictures of earth while in orbit, maybe most people would rather not still see the same type of evening news anchor, behind the same type of desk they have been seeing every night since the tv was first invented.
With a camera on every mobile phone, is every citizen becoming a correspondent?
The media scaremongering with citizen journalism killing the news industry was overdone and it is reflective of the very thing that news majorly needs to improve upon. A public service requires communication with the public and technology has allowed for more modes of communication then ever before.
Mobile camera phones should help to engage the public and provide more sources of information because now anyone can reach out to a journalist and anyone can record information. But a member of the public who has chosen to put the time and effort into earning the public's trust is still needed to fact check, verify and be a megaphone and transmitter of that information.
How would you explain the boom of the tabloid press?
Tabloids offer an escape from the stresses of life which have greatly increased for most due to the socioeconomic climate. I think tabloids provide information that doesn't directly influence a person' everyday life within a positive or negative way it's an escape and another world if you will...
What is your position regarding the right to privacy of famous people?
Does telling the story help to maintain an informed public. For example affairs do not help to maintain an informed public unless it's material which could make an elected official black mailable (ie. there spouse doesn't know etc). However if it's just for ratings and sensationalism I believe one should think more about how many lives he/she is ruining just to make a buck!
What can you teach us about the art of the interview?
Try to avoid bringing a list of questions the focus should be on what the interviewee is saying
Please list well-known people you have interviewed.
The former foreign Minister of Afghanistan Dr. Abdullah Abdullah for Gulf News (http://gulfnews.com/news/world/afghanistan/conditions-within-should-change-1.802748) and the head of the UN Monitoring Team for Al Qaeda and the Taliban (http://www.channel4.com/news/sanctions-switch-offers-afghan-taliban-talks-prospect).
I've produced several high profile interviews especially during my time with BBC Arabic but I was not the reporter.
Would you say the journalism blog is revolutionizing the profession?
Journalism blogs are another mode of communication and a new way to share information as well as reach and interact with one another. They also help bring discussions regarding media as a whole and the process of journalism into the public sphere.
Will the paper press disappear?
I don't believe paper press will disappear in my lifetime. It may transform, the model might evolve but it won't disappear. We still have radios don't we?
What are your thoughts of the free papers distributed in cities?
Wonderful! I wish every city had free papers! Even simply for the sake of boosting literacy!
What is the book you would like to write?
I don't know that I'd ever write a book.
Is there a motto or ethical principle that clarifies your decisions in moments of confusion?
Am I serving the public?
What advice would you give to someone who has just left university and wishes to start in the profession?
If you're lucky your job will be your passion. Understand that this is rare, most people work to make a living so that they can indulge in their passion. Regardless, find something you would enjoy doing everyday, something that helps you feel fulfilled and brings you joy most days. Be willing to work for free (and this is where the finding something you enjoy becomes critically important). Find a mentor who is willing to selflessly invest in you fulfilling your potential because he/she sees you as the next generation. Don't compromise your morals to get ahead. At the end of the day you are a human first and foremost followed by a professional within your given career path. If I can ever answer any questions please send me a tweet @sarahjreports