Get smarter by asking “dumb” questionsTony Mayo Email This Article
Mine was the Depression generation of journalists. Many of the best people were not educated. When I went to London as a sportswriter, I didn’t even know the difference between the Baltic states and the Balkans. But I learned the advantage of the dumb-boy technique. I found that people love to talk about themselves. You get more news by trust than by tricks.
But that is not a very popular idea with this generation. Because they went to college, they think that they know more than the guys who run the joint, and that’s a pretense that doesn’t work. Also they like big shots. I always felt that the way to gather news in Washington is at the periphery not at the center. You get it from the people who tell the big shots what to say.
— James Reston
interviewed by Alvin P. Sanoff
US News and World Report