People Will Get Mad At You

via sodahead.com

via sodahead.com

It’s a fact of life. As a reporter you are going to have to ask the tough questions, and ask them often. It’s the business you are in and if you can’t do it, I’m sorry.

I don’t care what kind of story you are writing, someone could get mad at you. It usually doesn’t take much, so you just have to always be ready for it. If you are ready for it, you won’t act as surprised and you’ll be able to handle it better. Trust me on that.

I’ve been following a particular story for the better part of six months now. I’ve been calling the same people constantly for updates and information. Most of them understand completely. They know I’m just doing my job and they either give me something or say no comment, but they are nice about it.

I try to be as cordial as I can. It’s not easy for me to call people each week about the same story. It has to be done, though. It’s our job.

Then there are others, who may not be used to media attention, that bite your head off. They may be quite tat first, but eventually they “snap.” It’s usually just a matter of time, to be honest. The pressure and attention can get to anyone. And, as a reporter, you have to take it in stride. You cannot show weakness.

If you have to remind them that you are just doing your job, then tell them. Don’t be afraid to say it. If they aren’t used to the media, ease them in. Most people today understand what reporters do on a daily basis, but, sometimes, people don’t get it.

If anything, level with them. Tell them what you need from them and just talk.

At the end of the day, you are just doing your job and if they can’t get over that, they never will. And that’s okay, too. You’ll still be calling them and leaving messages. You’ll still be seeking them out when you see them just to say “Hi.” They may come around, but don’t count on it.

If you ever lose focus, just remember that the story is going to be written either way. The sources know that.

You have a job to do.

Jonathan

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