Stay after Meetings

via 123rf.com

via 123rf.com

It took me a long time to figure this one out.

It’s really easy to get up from a meeting and get home as quickly as you can. If it’s a long meeting, it’s pretty easy to say “screw it,” and drive home.

I’ll be the first to admit that I do that a lot of the time. No one likes to be out until 10 p.m., when you have to get up at 5:30 the next morning. It’s not ideal.

Staying is something that I realized I had to do, though.

It’s crucial.

Whether it’s follow up questions or just talking, what you get out of staying after a meeting is how you get to know your sources.

This is all based on your comfort level. You have to get to know the “players” first.

The more meetings you go to, the better. The more they see your face, at important meetings or not, the more they’ll open the “doors of information” to you. That analogy sounded better in my head.

For new reporters, I highly recommend staying after meetings to ask followup questions you may have and get as much information about what you don’t know.

There’s nothing wrong with confirming things you heard or thought while at a meeting. If anything, the source will most likely be glad you want to get the facts straight and are showing the effort to do so.

In the beginning they may not open up to you, but you have to be persistent. I’m not saying be a nuisance, but be a familiar face in the audience. Make it a point to say to them when you walk in and really pay attention while you are taking notes.

I can almost guarantee you that they’ll come around. It may take a couple months, or even longer, but they’ll come around.

And if it takes longer than it takes longer. You have to keep at it.

Asking followup questions is crucial, especially with a morning paper.

Most people aren’t easily accessible so early in the morning, so asking the questions the night before makes working on deadline that much easier. It’s a pretty good idea to get the questions out of the way, instead of calling cell phones and getting nothing the next day.

Try it out. The few extra minutes can’t hurt ya.

Jonathan

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