How To Do Investigative Reporting

With recent tea coming from the Morning Watch editorial board comes a set of re-aligned editorial priorities. I had hoped that perhaps this re-shuffle would cause everyone’s favorite College Republicans chairman Sergei Kelley to re-evaluate his blog’s narrative stance and renew his commitment to “objectivity, not subjectivity.” Instead, it appears that Kelley has decided to double down on TMW’s state-of-the-art investigative reporting so as to cover “the basics.”

Wait. Did I say “state-of-the-art investigative reporting”? Indeed I did, for absolutely everything coming out of “the best publication at MSU” can actually be referred to as state-of-the-art. Consider this typical progression of events when the Morning Watch decides to make its presence known at an event: they put out a cry for help not just to their own staff but also to the entire MSU College Republican community (because nowadays TMW is just the propaganda arm of the CRs, which itself is now the propaganda arm of Sergei Kelley). Receiving no response from either group, he then proceeds to show up at whatever event has the potential for a juicy headline that will predictably fail to deliver on the memes such headlines promise. (The Morning Watch’s motto should really be “Objectivity, Not Subjectivity, Except In Our Headlines.”) After collecting enough information to write an article, possibly including a quote to take way out of context during the editing process (if one even exists?), the Morning Watch proceeds to publish it, where it will be sure to die a slow, semi-painful death.

Unfortunately, this tactic only works four, five, or six times before becoming stale, and these events the Morning Watch attempts to make clickbait out of have presented TMW with a bit of a problem: the sources are drying up. Take, for instance, the recent dreaMSU rally advocating for MSU to become a sanctuary school and provide a point of support for undocumented immigrants and immigrants with DACA status. The Morning Watch had an obvious presence at that rally, since Kelley made sure to stand at least 20 feet away from any of the protestors and made a point of filming the entire thing.  I wasn’t surprised to find a somewhat standoffish attitude towards Kelley’s presence at the rally, but you can’t really blame people for finding a lurker… lurker-y.

I’m sincerely wondering why the indomitable chairman of the MSU College Republicans would find himself having to use these conflict avoidance tactics. After all, it’s not like these protestors were particularly hostile to those who did not share their views. Many were simply attending the rally to educate themselves on these issues and their nuances. As a matter of fact,  I learned from dialogue with some of the leaders of dreaMSU that it is racism, and not border security, that the organization is opposed to, which could have given the Morning Watch an opportunity to find some common ground! (Unless the Morning Watch really is an organization of closet racists… but that’s none of my business.) But anyway, how is the Morning Watch supposed to arrive at these conclusions if they aren’t even willing to give talking with those they disagree with the old college try?

At the Evening Look, we pride ourselves on having headlines that actually deliver on what they say they’re going to, so in conclusion, this is how to do actual investigative reporting:

  • Don’t be an ass.
  • Show up.
  • Keep an open mind. Hell, you might actually learn something!

CORRECTION: Another crucial difference between the Morning Watch and the Evening Look is that we very clearly admit when we were wrong about something. Don’t get us wrong. We may gaslight you. Actually most of our work is gaslighting. But unlike at TMW, we only gaslight with the truth. It was inaccurate to claim that Sergei was unable to gain any useful information from the recent dreaMSU rally. He just gained the wrong information, writing that Prof. Andaluna Borcila was the Madison professor that spoke at the rally. This was just factually false. Prof. Anna Pegler-Gordon was the one to speak at the rally, and when a friend of mine corrected Kelley on this point, he corrected the article, but only after waiting 24 hours and not actually issuing a correction like this one.

-R. Duck

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