John Simpson: The fundamentals of great reporting

The creation of an online news portal for young journalists is timely, if not somewhat overdue. Greatreporter.com has the potential to go a long way and I take great pleasure in providing its first Profile article in what will surely become an authoritative series…


So, what makes a good reporter? Well, there are a number of qualities that you’ll need and among them are a real sense of curiosity; a profound interest in details and that real instinct that makes you want to grab people by the lapels and tell them what you’re doing.

When I see someone who has those qualities, I know they’re someone I’d want to work with and that they’re going to succeed.

Once you’re on top of whatever it is you’re covering, I think the key is to stay with it. It’s easier sometimes to follow the temptation to leave, but I think the key thing is just to stick with it and not panic, despite what you hear or what all the other journalists do.

Journalists in numbers are often like sheep and they panic easily when rumours sear through the system about what’s going to happen when a story breaks.