Thursday, September 18, 2008
Introducing Bill-Introducing Stories
Bill introduction stories are notorious, and deservedly so. The very phrase is shorthand for a type of journalistic hackery. The classic -- that is, the kind we mean when we talk about a "bill introduction story" -- is essentially a lightly laundered press release given the patina of neutrality by the reporter's byline.
Like every story type, they can serve several purposes. They can boost the ol' byline count. They can stroke the source. They can be written in one's sleep. But they can also illuminate, combining analysis with historical and political perspective.
Which is what I tried to do with this story about a fish-and-water bill. It's not just hack work, it's a case study! That's my own story, and I am sticking to it.