In Real Estate and Elsewhere, the Media Doesn’t Know What it Doesn’t Know

Last night in the interview room at Wells Fargo Arena, we were treated to the always entertaining spectacle of television cameraman as reporter using an interview technique that best can be described as “wear them down til they say something stupid.” On and on he went asking not about last night’s game but rather about the game this weekend between Arizona State and Arizona, all to show a 15-second snippet in a 3-minute sportscast.

Tremendous theater, except there was one problem. Most of the questions were along the lines of “how can you possibly expect to win down in the McKale Center” yet the player he was asking these questions of never has lost a game in that arena. Our intrepid camera guy thought he knew something – that it’s hard to beat the U of A on its home court and that U of A has been better than ASU in basketball for nearly 30 years – but didn’t know what he didn’t know – that Arizona State has won its last three in Tucson.

You can take this as an assault on the media if you choose but, speaking as a former newspaper reporter, there’s a definite truth. Reporters, at least of the last couple of generations, learn just enough about a subject to report on it from what appears to be a base of credibility. And that’s it. The days of news anchors and science reporters knowing the ins and outs of the Apollo program – often learning details interesting only to those at NASA – have long since passed.

Simply put, there’s a gigantic difference between reporting on a subject and being involved with it on a day-to-day basis.

And this carries over to real estate. Real estate writers are devoted to just the one topic, at least more often than not, but they’re really not immersed in the subject. They have no buy-in. They have no need to watch what’s happening as carefully as someone working in the industry because their livelihood doesn’t really depend on what’s happening or what they report. There always are other beats.

And that’s where the real estate blogs come in. This locale is not necessarily a font of the latest news, though that’s in my meta keywords somewhere. Instead, it’s an effort to lend some perspective to what you already are seeing in the Phoenix real estate market. Educational? Yes, at times. But not so much that I’d think it prudent for you to sketch out a contract on a cocktail napkin based on what you read here.

For better or worse, the blogs have forever changed the face of journalism as certainly as Woodward and Bernstein did once upon a time. But I can’t help but think one of the biggest differences is here, we’re not afraid to admit what we don’t know and we have a slightly better grasp of everything we don’t know.

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at

1 Comment

  • Kris Berg 7 years ago

    Arguably the best real estate post I have read all week. Bravo and well done, JD!

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