Call Everyone

via favequest.com

via favequest.com

This is a trick I learned for breaking news stories or things that you have to chase down from either the weekend or the night before.

I’m not sure why it took me so long to figure it out.

For accidents, fires and almost everything else, I call anyone I think has any information.

Why?

I do it because you never know who knows what and how the “event” happened.

The police won’t know everything, just like the fire department if you can catch them in the morning, may know something else.

I’ve found that the more people I call, the better the story will be.

It’s a pain in the ass, don’t get me wrong, but it’s all worth it. Trust me on this.

Think about it like this.

If you just call the fire department you only have half the story.

If it’s an accident, then you’ll have a okay story if you just talk to the fire department.

But, if you decide to call the police department, you may get a name, date of birth and if any charges have been filed against someone. Plus, extra quotes for a story you are chasing down are a godsend.

Also, if you call a town official, preferably the first selectman, town manager or mayor, you’ll get the “town’s perspective” on the accident  I always ask everyone for a history of accidents in the area because it adds to the story and it gives the reader something to think about. It also gives you more quotes for your story. It’s a win-win.

Editors like to see more than one person quoted in a story. We all know that.

Going this route for stories is easier said than done. You have to have the numbers ready to go, a plan in your head and an idea of what the story is going to look like.

It takes practice and it’s basically all last minute too. This route is pretty stressful because no one usually picks up the first time in the morning. You have to leave messages and call back, which doesn’t make anyone happy when you are on deadline.

If you do decide to go this route, your stories will be different–in a good way.

Most reporters that I’ve seen don’t go this route.

Sometimes it’s good to be different.

Jonathan

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