Turner Report

I had the opportunity to read a pre-press edition of Randy Turner's new book, named after his blog the Turner Report.

Even though I had only four hours sleep before I started reading the draft, I had a hard time putting it down. If you're a blogger or journalist this book is a must read.

Life is too short and too interesting for fiction. Turner gives a behind the scene look at what reporters should be doing. One of Turner's strong points is that he does his homework - something few reporters in our area do. In fact, some local journalists wouldn't know what investigative journalism was unless someone distributed it in a press release.

Turner takes the hard route and we need more reporters to follow his lead. His students will be proud to learn (he's a teacher at Diamond Middle School in Joplin) that Turner goes to great lengths to complete his homework.

The book gives great insight to his methods, pitfalls, personal struggles and victories in pursuing truth. Here's an excerpt from the book:

What was not being mentioned, and should have been, is that many of the biggest stories start with people who are unhappy about the way things are going. Do they have an ax to grind? In many cases, yes. Does that place their stories off limits? It shouldn’t. Reporters just have to be careful to make sure their stories are not coated with the same bias that their sources have.

I truly hope the day will come when our local journalists attempt to write with the excerpt above in mind. Sadly, when journalists are receiving direct payoffs - the whole industry suffers.

I have no doubt Turner's book will be a great success and can't wait to finish the last chapters.