How to Seek the Real Truth of a Story

You must dig past your assumptions.

Summary
Transcript

In this backstage interview from Leadercast Women 2019, Laura Ling, award-winning journalist and TV host, shares the process she goes through to get to the truth of a story.

“There's so much that is involved in telling a story and reporting a story,” she shares. “But you really don't know what the story is until you get out and you meet the people that you're covering… A lot of times, the real story turns out to be very different than what you thought it was going to be—than that preconceived notion that you had.”

Watch the video to learn why this lesson from the journalism world is important in leadership, too.

There's so much that is involved in telling a story and reporting a story. There's a lot of preparation. There's preinterviews. There's outlining. There's obviously risk assessments that you have to take, and so you're preparing as much as you possibly can for that particular story.

But you really don't know what the story is until you get out and you meet the people that you're covering. You're being in that situation, and a lot of times, the real story turns out to be very different than what you thought it was going to be—than that preconceived notion that you had.

And I think that it is a very important lesson, not just in the journalism world but in life in general, to OK, you can be prepared and you can make these assumptions but it's really important to follow up on those things, to do the hard work, to do the deep digging so that you understand what the true story is, if you're going to get it right.

Sometimes people will try to write the story before they even leave the office because it's an easy way to get things done. You have a perfect picture of it in your head, and you just have to say, "OK, well that can be an interesting guide that can help us along the way. We have to go out and see that the truth is. We have to do the hard work.” And it's important to get the reality of what's happening. Otherwise, we aren't living by those ethos of being accurate and honest in our storytelling.
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Laura Ling

Laura Ling is an award-winning journalist and TV and web host who exposes the world to critical global issues. She is the host of Conquered on Z Living Network, and is the director of development for Discovery Digital Networks. In Mar...

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