By Kade Dohmen
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
In today’s day and age, immediacy has become the primary factor in news and journalism. This can make it tough for journalists to decide whether to post a story or wait for more facts.
K.C. Johnson, a Chicago Bulls reporter for the Chicago Tribune, advises that journalists listen to their internal voice among all the noise of the 24/7 news cycle.
“The 24/7 news cycle has changed journalism because there is too much focus on immediacy and instant (delivery) of information,” Johnson, 49, said in a phone interview. “We still need to try and be accurate.”
Johnson's deadline has become 24/7 and a lot of stories are posted immediately. Johnson said that Twitter is an important part of his job. He tweets important things as they arise, blogs and posts stories.
Johnson, who is from Evanston, Illinois, majored in creative writing at Beloit College in Wisconsin. While in college, he wrote for the student newspaper. In college, he also wrote for the Beloit Daily News. He said he was simply following the signs that his life was showing him, which pointed toward journalism.
“I had always loved writing and sports. I am a curious person by nature and I enjoy storytelling,” said Johnson.
After graduation, Johnson landed a marketing internship with the Chicago Bulls. Not long after that he worked part time at the Chicago Tribune covering high school sports. In 1996, he started covering the Chicago Bulls for the Tribune at the start of their second three-peat and for the most part has been reporting on the Bulls ever since, covering everyone from Bison Dele to Derrick Rose to Dwyane Wade.
Through his time at the Tribune, he has relied on editors and lamented that they don't get the credit they deserve.
“They are a safety net everybody needs,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he likes print newspapers, but he worries about the future.
“The emphasis has shifted from print product to web. I’m an old-school guy. I’d like to think newspapers will continue,” said Johnson.
But, he added: “We’re using a broken business model. We use money and paper and gasoline and ask people to pay for something they get for free online."
Still, Johnson offered some advice to aspiring journalists. “Become a lawyer,” he joked.
All kidding aside, Johnson advised students to be curious, focus on all beats and be ready to deal with all kinds of people.
“At the end of the day, we’re dealing with people. They may be professional athletes, but they are still people,” said Johnson.
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