Trying to Confirm Anything Can be a Pain

It’s usually easier said than done. 

You either have to know someone on the inside or have a really nice relationship with someone to open up to you. Sometimes tips are for small stories, but that’s okay. Stories are stories and it doesn’t matter how big or small they are.

Disclaimer: This is all from my own experiences. If you have witnessed or experienced something, let me know if you’ve noticed anything different.

If it’s something that you’ve been following for awhile, you’ll be more excited than if it’s something you’ve just heard about. And that’s the beauty of being a reporter. You don’t know what’s going to happen from one day to the next.

The problem?

It can be damn near impossible for you to get things confirmed, though. Most of the time, you’ll have a hard time. Depending on the tip and the kind of story the tip leads to, most people don’t like being the first to confirm something. That’s understandable, but you don’t have to necessarily quote them, if they are the ones to confirm it. I try to let sources know that before I ask them to confirm something. Many times they still choose not to comment, but the option stays on the table.

Sometimes sources are understanding and sometimes they aren’t. People don’t like to be surprised, so, you have to tread water very carefully. It’s not easy knowing who knows the “good stuff” already.

To beat that, I try to play dumb. I act like I don’t know what’s going on and try to get the source to tell me the news/information without me directly asking. It’s a nice way to avoid a confrontation or awkward situation, but it usually gets you nowhere. From what I’ve noticed, people do not like to go out of their way to tell you something.

It’s pretty frustrating, but you have to deal with it and roll with what you get. If it takes a few days, that’s fine.

I make sure to tell at least one editor what is going on with each tip that I get. It relieves a bit of stress from my shoulders because editors can provide a ton of help and guidance to try and access the information from sources. It also helps to talk about what’s going on with someone that can understand the situation. If you do choose to tell them, you have to make sure that you let them know that you aren’t sure how long it’s going to take you to get the story. That’s key because, truthfully, you have no idea.

Confirming tips isn’t always fun, but when you get them confirmed it makes the entire job, process and effort worth it.

Jonathan

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2 Responses to Trying to Confirm Anything Can be a Pain

  1. Anton Allan says:

    Most of the time, it can be damn near impossible to get things confirmed.
    Stankiewicz’s Law.

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