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The one-handed kid who won a piano contest

Or why it's dangerous to skip out on research I sometimes get approached by clients who want to rush the research process. While this is possible for some assignments, often I find that hasty research can be risky. When I worked as a reporter I had a boss who cared about detail. Good editors tend to. He told me an apocryphal story about a reporter who’d skipped out on his research and nearly landed in hot water. Someone had sent in a letter to the newsdesk about a lad winning a piano contest. It had been ignored. The next day, an editor realised they’d missed a major story. “Look, I know it’s not exactly Watergate,” the editor started. “But did you check the photo?”

The reporter hadn’t.

When he did, he realised that the boy only had one hand. One. Hand. A one-handed boy had won a piano contest. It was an amazing story that would have gone under the radar if that editor hadn’t been paying attention. What I’m trying to say is, take your time. Trust your own process when starting to work with a new client. No matter how much they try to rush. And, most of all, don’t skimp on the research.


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