Pulitzer winners on journalism

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 November, 2007, 12:00am

Famous reporters reveal their secrets

Award-winning journalists from renowned international publications visited Hong Kong last month to share their secrets of successful investigative reporting with students.

Organised by the journalism department of Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), with a donation of HK$1 million from the Hong Kong Economic Journal, the Pulitzer Prize Winners Workshop consisted of a series of insightful talks by six Pulitzer Prize recipients.

The department has also arranged for four to six Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists to visit the HKBU campus for a two-week academic exchange every year with a view to enhancing the quality of local journalistic education.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, Secretary for Justice Wong Yan-lung said the workshop provided an excellent opportunity for journalists and journalism students to learn from the veterans' experience.

In the 'Online Digging: Tips and Tricks' workshop, Steve Stecklow, senior special writer and news editor in the Boston bureau of The Wall Street Journal, revealed some tricks of his trade.

He explained the importance of patience when using the internet.

'Many people only use Google to search for information. However, as there are often millions of results following the input of key words, it's likely that many people won't have the patience to go past the first or two pages of results, which means the information they're looking for may be lost among the reams of search results,' said Stecklow

He won the Pulitzer Prize in the public service category in 2007.

He kept the audience rapt with stories of how he secured scoops for The Wall Street Journal.

'I once did a story on food scandals in the US. To track down former employees of the US Foodservice, I dug up a site on Foodservice rumours and tracked down the man who set up the website. He was glad to help me write my story,' said Stecklow.

With the internet being such a treasure trove of information, Stecklow said the secret is to know how to use it effectively.

'Good journalism is always investigative reporting. The internet is the greatest tool for finding people, so it's a boon for investigative reporters who always need to track down people to interview,' said Stecklow.