Interview the forest

Interview the forest. Interview the trees and the rocks and the dirt. Listen carefully to the birds and the frogs and the crickets. Watch the clouds and the hills that unfold into the distant horizon, spotting the smattering of trees that are leading the charge to fall coats of orange and auburn.

These are the gritty details that make good stories, and you can only get them by being there. That is the essential lesson and genius of field reporting. And it’s what makes being a journalist so damn fun.

The key to reporting complicated stories is going to where the action is happening, whether that is at a research plot in the ancient Ozark Mountains, the Keys in Florida or a lab at a major university.

Interviews with nature can take a bit of hiking and might leave you sweaty and muddy and exhausted, but they are the key to good stories and the job of the reporter. Every moment of this trip reiterates these essential truths and force me to think about how I can be better at everything I do on the job.

A long weekend of reporting in the field makes going back to Jefferson City a bit challenging. But there are plenty of interesting creatures there as well.

Edited by Andrew Brown


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