Ferguson favors information and public interest over drama

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February 20, 2007, 3:51 pm

February 20, 2007 — At the Shorenstein Center brown-bag lunch, Renee Ferguson inspired lively conversation and debate over the justification of breaking journalistic taboos — in this case, naming and visually identifying a rape victim — under the auspices of telling a good story.

Ferguson, a current Nieman Fellow with more than 30 years of investigative reporting experience at Chicago’s NBC 5, described herself as an “old-fashioned” reporter, eschewing drama in favor of providing the audience with useful information that serves the public interest.

Addressing the changes that have taken hold within the news business throughout the span of her career, Ferguson expressed steadfast opposition to the idea that marketing should drive news directors’ decisions of what constitutes news. “I’m appalled at that,” Ferguson said. “Being market-driven is such a mistake.”