Getting the Scoop

I’ve talked about getting tips and rapport before, but I have yet to point out something that is really obvious.

I talk to some sources much more than I do others. Some of them aren’t even in towns I cover, too. It’s the notable town officials that get calls from all three of the reporters at the paper. We have most of their cell phones and desk numbers. They get called for the weekend roundup stories, the weather stories and whatever else our editors can think up each week.

But those are the people that, sometimes, give us the scoop on certain things going on, either in their town or the region. It’s not top secret information, but it’s things that the paper wouldn’t normally find out about in our daily work.

Louisa, Michelle and I all have a different kind of rapport with each of these sources. That could be a post in itself. The three of us all interview people much differently. It’s what sets us apart, but the rapport is still there. It’s an interesting thing.

For example, Louisa doesn’t know my towns as well as I do, just like I don’t know Windham/Willimantic as well as she does. We talk to these sources about different things and the relationship itself is different. As reporters, we aren’t interchangeable, but we make it work. And I don’t think we’ve missed any big stories since I started, either.

The scoops are few and far between, though. It may be something we have to check on or just a heads up, but it does happen. And it proves that what we are doing is working.

Those relationships take a very long time to set up. Since I started, the three of us have tested those “relationships” many times with each of these sources and it has been tough. It’s a balancing act and we all continue to work at them on a weekly basis.

It’s a lot of work. You them for a particular story, but it’s more than that. You ask them how the town hall is doing, how their weekend was or whatever else you can think of. It’s tough, but it’s all worth it in the end. The scoops keep the paper filled. Those scoops also make you feel good about your work, too.

Jonathan

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2 Responses to Getting the Scoop

  1. Pingback: It’s Okay To Fish « Just Starting Out

  2. Pingback: Take Advantage of “off the record” | Just Starting Out

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