In his "stern voice" he would say, "Shaka, don't ask me a question with a question."
As I got older and began to figure out what I wanted to do as a career, journalism called my name and, at the age of 15, I answered the call. My dad never asked me again why I asked so many questions. He saw that I excelled in my craft from the very beginning and that there was a reason deep down why I asked so many questions.
A person cannot simply tell me something and I go with it, especially when it involves getting facts straight.
This past week was a whirlwind for me as a crime reporter. Since coming to the paper in November, there have been some pretty interesting court cases that had me tossing and turning nightly. But nothing, to date, was as big as the Wazineh Suleiman case that unfolded last week. Each day there was something breaking, and each day, I tried my best to keep up with the facts of the case to relay them to our readers.
While I may not have moved fast enough for some, I know without a doubt I moved accurately. And that is always my goal as a reporter. That's something my journalism professors pounded into my head. I think in the days of Internet, Facebook, Twitter, text messages and any other instant communication, people feel the need to rush. Rushing is not in my vocabulary when it comes to my craft, especially when lives are involved.
I was in no way concerned with posting every detail I heard about the case as soon as I heard it. I took every lead, every tip and every bit of information and verified it. Some appreciated it, some did not, but I think my accuracy proved itself when I was contacted by the Nancy Grace Show to discuss the case nationally. Upon reading the wires the producer sent before the taping, I noticed my stories among many other media stories, not only locally and within Georgia, but nationally. I was extremely proud that among the sea of Cartersville media I was chosen to represent the city and The Daily Tribune News nationally. To me that says a lot. Being a member of the Georgia Press Association, National Association of Black Journalists and the paper itself being a member of the Associated Press, how we represent ourselves is important.
I think in the rush to be first most media miss that. Anyone can post information on a social networking site, but it takes a skilled and trained reporter to be accurate and informative.
Shaka S. Lias is the courts and crime reporter for The Daily Tribune News. She is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University where she received a Bachelors of Arts in Journalism.