Something BiG says:
“I think you do more research for one throwaway column than the average “journalist” does for above the fold on the front page.”
And, well, I cheat. I write about things that I already know about. Or am interested in at least, have something to say about.
In one sense this is just what we’d like all to be doing. In another it’s rather different. The newspaper, the journalists on it, have to pick up the stories that are there and say something about them. That requires lots of looking around in order to have something to say. Even, to find out what is going on.
My cheat is to look around, see something I’d like to say something about, then do a piece. That is a fundamentally different approach. I’m specifically choosing the things I’ve already got an approach to, that largely guided by my already knowing something to a lot about it and having references to it. Journalism is, in its essence, the other way around. Here is something that has to be written about now, what in buggery is it?
There are rare occasions when I’m asked for a piece on something where I don’t already have a view. I flail around at such points just like everyone else.