Paul Burton, Journalist, Author


In today’s society, journalism plays a critical role in keeping the public informed and holding those in power accountable. With the rise of social media and the ease of accessing news from various sources, it may seem like anyone can be a journalist. However, the importance of trained and ethical journalists cannot be overstated. 

In today’s episode, journalist and author Paul Burton discusses his career in journalism, his views on education, and his book “Tales from the Newsrooms: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at News, Life, and the Unforgettable Characters Who Made It Happen”. He talks about his experiences covering public finance, missteps, and intrigue he encountered, and how he was inspired to write his book. The interview also touches on the importance of education and the need to raise students up to higher standards.

00:36- About Paul Burton

  • Paul Burton is a Journalist.
  • He is also the Author of two books
  • “Fiascoes and Foibles: An Unfiltered Look at Public Finance, Media, Politics, and Sports” 
  • “Tales from the Newsrooms: An Offbeat Look”

03:12- Why are you “critical of any “dumbed down” approach to schooling?”

  • Growing up, my parents were blue-collar workers who always emphasized the importance of speaking and writing correctly, telling me that it would open doors and windows of opportunity. 
  • I believe that we need to raise students to higher standards. 
  • Unfortunately, there is a crisis in the United States where one out of every three children cannot read at a basic level, so we need to start with the basics of reading and math. 
  • I think the trend towards STEM education is a step in the right direction, but we also need to teach kids to communicate effectively through speaking and listening, as well as media and communication courses. 
  • I know an infrastructure executive who credits his success to his experience working in media, where he learned to probe and investigate and not take things at face value.

09:46- In your book, you describe several instances where public officials mismanaged public funds. What do you think are some of the root causes of such mismanagement, and how can we prevent it from happening in the future?

  • The lack of checks and balances in our current system is concerning. 
  • It seems like people in power, such as mayors and city managers, tends to award contracts to their cronies and benefactors, which can include professional services such as bond councils, investment firms, and insurance brokerage contracts. 
  • To address this, we can change auditors every few years instead of hiring professionals for a lifetime, and ensure adequate funding for oversight agencies like the state auditor’s office. 
  • However, media cutbacks have also hurt our ability to scrutinize things at the local level, and airtight prosecution is crucial in cases like the municipal bid-rigging trial to prevent violations of the law. 
  • We need to have more real-time, effective prosecutions to hold people accountable.

14:33- The most significant ways in which technology has transformed Politics and Sports

  • As a journalist, I’ve observed that technology has both positive and negative aspects. 
  • On the positive side, it allows us to process news more quickly, and we can get information out to the public faster than ever before. 
  • Additionally, the ability to do on-location videos is a nice novelty. 
  • On the other hand, there is too much of a rush mentality in the media, leading to more inaccuracies and typos. 
  • The presence of tech bureaucrats and their language can also be problematic, as can the overreliance on analytics as the only tool. 
  • Ageism is also an issue in the industry, as people over 50 are sometimes unfairly labeled as dinosaurs. 
  • However, there is a positive shift towards more critical coverage of tech, instead of the fawning coverage of the past.


You can connect with Paul Burton | LinkedIn


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  • Paul Burton is a Journalist.
  • He is also the Author of two books
  • “Fiascoes and Foibles: An Unfiltered Look at Public Finance, Media, Politics, and Sports” 
  • “Tales from the Newsrooms: An Offbeat Look”

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