"Who did what to whom, where, why, when and how"
The maxim of the journalist, so I was told by a former journalist and now a lawyer, Stephen Tan Ban Cheng, who was a senior journalist not just in Malaysia but also in New Zealand. He then became a lawyer and he writes constantly in the Bar Council website and wrote letters to the newspaper to give his point of views on certain matters. He does not believe in being online (except those articles and letters published elsewhere) as he had a few brush with the law when he was a journalist.
He was one of the speakers in the eLawyer-Exabytes Penang Bloggers and Law Forum 2009 which was a few weeks ago. As the forum was in Penang, he was the natural selection as one of the speaker for the forum and I think he was the perfect one for the role. Especially when he was asked to talk about journalism and defamation. He did with stories that he had experienced when he was a journalist and laced them with the law that he has learned as he became a lawyer. Most of the participants did find him effective as the stories and experience that he gave out was relevant to the current issue.
As for me, delving into the mind of a journalist who has been there and seen everything, is the best thing that I like about his talk. I know a lot of journalist, who is always chasing bylines and deadlines and whatever lines there are to be chase around. Meeting someone who understand how journalism and law works together. He is jaded and has experience the pain of trying to stand up to the idealism of youth, of trying to stand up for what one thinks are right and even willing to be jailed or presecuted for what they believe in.
His advice? Follow that maxim in which all journalist should stand by and then make sure the law is executed by the one who knows how. If you do it accordingly, you can live to tell another day all those that will change the world. Observe, report and then get to the next news.
Don't try to change the world all at once.