Research to Ask Questions

I learned some time ago to work in the media I had to ask questions. But simply asking questions, I soon discovered, was not good enough. 

I understood from the onset that to be successful while studying in college or at some professional endeavor I had to be informed. It was impossible for me to start writing a comprehensive end of the semester paper and appear intelligent to my professors. 

While conducting research I always took more time investigating, reading, assessing and discussing information with my colleagues than writing. The reasons are many, yet, were necessary for me to proceed. 

First, I wanted the language to be correct, concise and intelligible to anyone who was to review my work. Ernest Hemmingway and Janet Flanner influenced me to take this path. Hemmingway and Flanner were journalists and writers of the finest caliber who selected the proper word or term to fit their work. 

Next, I pushed myself to seek the most informed sources, experts who were not merely regurgitating information and with a slight of hand not presenting or producing any new thought as some academics and other professionals are known to do. The contradiction here dwells in the fear of upsetting the status quo by questioning the accepted norm, which is a refusal to recognize progress while receiving accolades. 

My professors encouraged me to take the road less traveled and seek out the new through research and discussion before arriving at a conclusion. I learned by doing this the respect I had gained was earned and not by chicanery. My collegiate colleagues and professors were usually interested in my sources and I never refused to do so. For me academic achievement, intellectual development and progressive thought were my driving forces. 

Furthermore, while attending journalism and speech communication classes I was taught to research as much as possible before seeking an interview with a source. The reason was simple; I had to be prepared to conduct myself in a professional manner and not insult my source by being less than prepared about the topic and the source as well. 

The research always seemed to take an extraordinary amount of time, but it was always worth the effort, no matter the assignment or class. The research was exhilarating as it directed me to new thoughts and questions to discuss with my colleagues and, of course, my sources.

Lastly, what irks me most is when the information is available and I am denied access and not appear to be a consummate professional for a source. I am incapable of recognizing the reasons for this posture. 

I find it utterly stupid to deny access to important information that has nothing to do with national security, but public information that would lift a veil on facts needed for a significant professional enterprise. 

This meandering piece is about the definition of professionalism, unfettered by bureaucracy and not hidden by thinly veiled excuses, but through action, a willingness to accept knowledge that produces thought and thus an elevated production of an assignment.  

By denying access to significant public information consummate professionals are prevented from developing the best relationships possible with sources. I have discovered that sources want to help, but  with the respect they want and deserve in the process. 

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