Asia Pacific Media Educator


Reporters are commonly criticized for their incomplete reporting. One way to produce a comprehensive report is to approach an assignment with a methodical plan. The reporting outline is such a plan whereby for journalists to think through six components: the theme, the topic, reference material, sources, angles, and questions. The Jakarta-based Dr. Soetomo Press Institute (Lembaga Pers Dr. Soetomo, LPDS) has conducted numerous journalism workshops throughout Indonesia. A common observation from these workshops is that often news stories in the local press are not comprehensive. A tell-tale sign of inadequate reporting effort is the questions readers ask about the substance after reading the report. Not only are major facts missing, but essential details are missing as well. In covering a local fire, for instance, it is insufficient to report where and when it took place, what damage it caused and who were the victims. The report is still incomplete even after learning how the fire started. Beyond the dry and humdrum basic facts, the reporter must be proactively curious and socially sensitive to pursue also the human side of the story. How has the fire affected individual victims and the community as a whole? Have people lost livelihoods and not just living space? What help are the victims getting? Why was the fire not preventable? How well did the local fire department extinguish the fire?