How can listening help in journalism?


Listening plays a crucial role in journalism by enabling deeper understanding and authentic engagement with sources. Here are some insights on how listening can enhance journalistic practice:

  1. Empathy and Understanding: Listening with empathy allows journalists to see the world through other people’s eyes, fostering a deeper understanding of their perspectives, emotions, and motivations. This depth of comprehension can lead to more insightful and nuanced reporting 1 .

  2. Building Trust: Effective listening can build trust between the journalist and their sources. When sources feel genuinely heard and not merely used for information, they are likely to share more openly and honestly, providing richer content for stories 1 .

  3. Detailed and Accurate Reporting: Journalists often uncover critical details and underlying truths through careful listening. As demonstrated by Walter Isaacson, quiet and attentive listening can encourage people to share more than they might in a standard interview setting. This practice can lead to discoveries that significantly enhance the quality of the reporting 2 .

  4. Facilitating Difficult Conversations: In journalism, engaging with sensitive topics and speaking to individuals who have undergone trauma or distress requires exceptional listening skills. It not only aids in gathering accurate information but also respects and acknowledges the dignity of those involved.

Each of these practices underscores the importance of listening, not only as a tool for information gathering but as a foundational aspect of ethical and effective journalism.

Better Listening

Carolyn shares her insights on how to become a better listener, emphasizing the importance of deep listening and understanding the subject-object theory. She also talks about the contagious nature of listening and the need to be curious to truly understand what others mean.

The Knowledge Project

The Genius Strategies to Become a Better Listener l | Carolyn Coughlin | Knowledge Project Podcast