Take chances, Pulitzer-winning reporter urges young journalists

Gangrey

Lane DeGregory, a reporter for Poynter's Tampa Bay Times, wrote an email to a journalism student who asked her: "Is there anything you wish you could tell yourself when you were as inexperienced as us?"



"As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized, it’s okay to not know — it can even be endearing," DeGregory, who won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing for this series, writes about boning up for interviews. In another section, she suggests taking risks:

I wish I had known that it was okay to make mistakes, that no matter how brilliant — or bad — your story is, another paper will come out tomorrow, so it’s okay to try something that might not work. But it’s not okay not to try. Or to bore yourself by always doing what’s safe. Or to think your readers will care if you don’t.

In a video for Poynter this summer, DeGregory talked about developing sources, saying she always tries to get people she's interviewing to show them their bedrooms: "I feel that's where a lot of masks come off," she said.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.

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