On yearbooks and journalistic laziness. I used to find yearbooks of people I interviewed and covered. Why did reporters need a "tip" in the Northam Scandal?

Trust journalists to brag about their own laziness and try to spin it as some sort of piece of investigative journalism.

Take this Washington Post piece of propaganda:

A tip from a ‘concerned citizen’ helps a reporter land the scoop of a lifetime

Really? Someone had to call and do your job for you?

Why didn’t any journalist not track down the future governor’s yearbooks from high school and university when he first went into politics?

What kind of garbage are you trying to spin?

Because when I worked as a journalist, I always tracked down yearbooks.

You have no idea what a trick it was, but I always tracked them down. You go to the high schools and they have them. There are public libraries that have them. Municipal and school archives have them. Friends and former classmates have them.

There is zero excuse for it, and that journalists didn’t track this down from the get-go shows just how worthless and lazy they are.

I was in the yearbook committee in both junior high and high school, and I was the yearbook editor in my graduating year.

I also have my undergraduate yearbook from McMaster University.

I still have my yearbooks.

The first thing you should do when you are covering a story about someone is to track down their yearbooks.

When I had done Chaser Investigative News the first time, not only did I track down yearbooks, I talked about the process. There was one story about a missing woman who was accidentally photographed at a Take Back the Night Rally.

I tracked down the yearbooks, and discovered the she had switched schools at one point, and failed a grade. I found out she was not involved in any extracurricular activities, was never an honour student, but I found people who knew her who told me a lot about the clique she hung out with. This group even had a name.

I saw through her yearbook pictures that she blossomed quite dramatically, which confirmed information I was given about the family’s fortunes at the time.

And as I wrote about things, I had local people who read my blog who also looked at those corresponding yearbooks to see if they could glean anything I could have missed. People were engaged with the story, but I was the one who got the ball rolling.

Those yearbooks weren’t hidden. Neither was the one with Northam’s dubious blackface. No one ever commented publicly on Northam’s page before that — or if they went to the press before, their tips were ignored.

Remember, this is a yearbook picture from 1984.

Thirty-five years ago.

Right out in the open.

So there are a slew of other questions here, but the big one is why didn’t a single reporter see it until someone had to go to them and point it out?

So the reporter who allegedly “broke” the story, didn’t.

That itself is a gross misrepresentation of the actual event.

And the real story isn’t about a university yearbook with a blackface picture of a future politician.

It is that it was there for decades, and not a single journalist thought to look.

I always did — and anyone who has read any Magnus Lyme Mystery novella knows my stories always have Miss Lyme tracking down yearbooks of suspects. It is a running joke throughout them.

Because that’s what I did as a journalist, and that twist is a nod to my thoroughness as a researcher.

So shame on the Washington Post for being dishonest and deceitful — and trying to spin bad journalism into good journalism. The stench of their burning trousers reek all the way here…