Stop someone when they are talking?

I’ve struggled with this often in my short career.

It’s easier said than done, but it’s a real thing. Some sources tend to talk at length no matter what you are calling them for.

I don’t want to pick on local legislators, but some of them can really talk. Even town officials can get on rants about anything and everything.

It’s nice to be able to joke about it, but is it the right thing to do? For me, it depends.

If you are on deadline, I think it’s more than okay to tell the source that you need to go, but you’ll call back later. I think that’s a completely acceptable way to get around that.

Most sources understand that you have a job to do. It’s just the way it is. Reporters don’t have all the time in the world. I mean, we’d love to talk all day, but we have to get copy in the paper.

Some forget that, as a morning paper, we have an early deadline (11 a.m.), which makes it tough to talk to everyone for the same amount of time.

Obviously, you want to give everyone enough time to speak, but, sometimes, there really isn’t that much time.

I hate cutting people off. It’s not something that they teach you in college, either. Some people will get offended and, if they do, just explain to them what you are doing and that you have to get back to work and write the story.

If you are hesitant on cutting someone off, you have to try it at some point. Sooner or later, you are going to have to do it.

You can try to call people earlier for a story, but you’ll usually run out of time.

I can almost guarantee it.

Jonathan

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