Toni Reinhold: Reporters have a burning desire that drives them towards the truth and to tell the story


We have reported before about joint organised training course for Mongolian journalists by the Thomson Reuters and the Montsame news agency organised last week. The course focuses on developing the finance and economics knowledge and skill of Mongolian media personnel to meet the increasing demand for extensive news coverage and the rising internet coverage by the world about Mongolia.
Reuters journalist and editor Toni Reinhold, who is the course teacher, is also the author of several mass market books, including Untamed — The autobiography of Gunther Gebel Williams and Patient or Pretender —Inside the Strange World of Factitious Disorders and a 19 year careerof journalism experience
As one of the journalists who participated in the course I found it extremely helpful, informative and relevant. Ms. Reinhold made sure everybody got the most out of the course and helped us to understand the most important principals of journalism. The course was concise and full of easily applicable techniques and reporting method.

The following is an interview with Ms. Toni Reinhold.

-You have been a journalist for a very long time, how did you start? And why did you choose to be a journalist?
-I didn’t choose it, it chose me and I started freelancing for radio stations and newspapers when I was 17.
-Did you find it hard?
-No, it was fun. I went to college at night and I worked as a reporter the rest of the time. I got my first fulltime job as a reporter when I was 19 at a newspaper.
-Can you tell us more about the Newswomen’s Club?
-I’m President of the Newswomen’s Club in New York, which is a group dedicated to professional newswomen who work in the New York metropolitan area and we have a few hundred members. Our goal is to support newswomen, provide networking and training opportunities and to promote the highest standards of journalism.
-What was your reaction to the proposal to teach in Mongolia?
-I thought it was great. I’m from Brooklyn and now I’m sitting in Mongolia, how good does it get?
-Is this your first time in Mongolia? How do you like it here?
-Yes. It’s wonderful, the people are friendly, and it’s fascinating in a historical perspective. This is the land of Chinggis Khaan so who wouldn’t want to see it. Modern Mongolia and all the components of it, it’s an amazingly interesting place and it’s only going to get more fascinating.
-As an economics and business journalist how do you see Mongolia economics?
-I don’t have an opinion about anything as a journalist. My job is to look at the facts and let the facts tell the story, so I’d never express an opinion as a journalist.
-You have taught in many countries. What is the main thing that you aspire to teach to all those journalists from all over the world?
-That we can always be smarter and better and that you are not alone because we are a part of this vast community of journalists from all over the world, that we are one big family. As long as we see the world this way there will always be a place for us to promote honest and fair journalism. One of the main missions of Thompson Reuters is to teach non Reuters journalists, where we are invited to do that and that’s all over the world. We’ve got people teaching everywhere from Bhutan to Hanoi to Ulaanbaatar. The Thompson Reuter’s foundation has journalists from all over the world doing training courses like we did this week and that’s a really important part of our mission. We recognise that most people aren’t going to help us to learn more and that we have to help each other. As journalists we need our news organizations to support us so that we can take training. One of the most important things for the foundation is to have a local partner who makes sure that the journalists are safe and that there is a place to work for the training class. Plus, by having local partners, there is support on the ground, so when they go back to their newsrooms, they have support to work in different ways.
-You said that journalism came to you as opposed to you choosing journalism, but what aspect of it made you stay with journalism?
-It’s too exciting not to stay with it. Come on, we get to see the world in a different way and we get to tell people about the world in a way that they wouldn’t be able to see, hear or understand it if it weren’t for us going out to find the truth and report it. How could you not want to do that, it’s just too exciting.
-You said once that reporters are born and not made, what do you mean by that?
-Reporters have a burning desire that drives them towards the truth and to tell the story. They: hear it, they recognise it and they are drawn to what is news and what is factual. It’s a burning desire to understand the world and to tell the story, and I don’t think you can teach that to someone. You are either born with it or not, a curiosity about the world that is never satisfied. Look at all of you: you are smart and curious, you work many hours a day and yet you come back for more the next day.
-What is the biggest realization you had from all those years of working as a reporter?
-That just when you think you know something you realize you know nothing. There is always something you can learn.
-What are the principles that you follow in life?
-To be honest, to be fair, to listen and to care what people have to say. To tell the truth as best as I can and to treat people the way I want to be treated, and to respect them as I want to be respected.
-Who inspired in your journey to expand yourself and to become a teacher?
-Journalists did. I learned from journalists. When I started out, I learned from people who had been in the business for many years and they taught me. After a while you find that you’re teaching people in the newsroom and they start asking you to this and that. Before you know it you are teaching. Teaching is my way of giving something back to the foundation. Journalism has been very good to me and I want to give something back.
-How would you evaluate the five day course you conducted here in Mongolia?
-The most important thing we established this week I think is: that journalists must understand and speak the language of finance. If we journalists don’t understand the language of finance then we just can’t function as journalists. There is no story where you don’t need to understand it and that’s what we focused on this week and how to write those stories.

Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=1988

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