Waiting for Statements

I’ve talked about statements before, but sometimes that’s all you get.

Some town and district officials are just easier to “get” via e-mailed statements.

As you continually try to contact the same people, you soon find out who is easy to reach and who isn’t.

With a morning deadline, you’ll find yourself waiting. I know I do.

It’s tough.

People tend to forget quite easily that we are a morning paper. The trick is to remind them and throw that information into their heads as many times as you can.

When I’m looking for a statement, I leave a voice message detailing what I’m looking for, with the stipulation of what time I need the statement by.

In that same voice message, I’ll tell the source that I’ll be emailing them as soon as I get off the phone.

I usually have the e-mail ready-to-go by the time I call someone, just in case I don’t get them on the first time I call.

It’s a system I use now. It may not be the friendliest, or the least annoying, but it works for me.

Hell, sometimes I tweet people to get in touch with them first. I know that, with today’s technology, people are more apt to check their phones before they do anything else.

I will be the first to agree that e-mailed statements aren’t what a story truly needs. I want stories with voices and lots of them.

It’s not my favorite part of being a reporter on deadline, but it’s just the way it is.

Unless you are really close with a source, you may have to “rely” on statements, either voice or e-mail, during your job. I can count on two hands how many people I can call and be more than comfortable that I’ll get them when I need them.

In the scheme of things, that’s less than 5 percent of the people I’ve called in the last 4 months.

As I’ve said before, this job isn’t easy. It takes a lot of dedication and trying to track down statements definitely requires it.

Jonathan

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2 Responses to Waiting for Statements

  1. opiningquill says:

    The duty of an elected official is pubic service with that being said, availability to the press is a key element in that duty. Avoiding the press is an easy and cowardly action, leadership requires courage and is much more difficult especially in times of controversy and challenge. Exposing the cowards is part of the role for the 4th estate along with the positions and statements of the courageous leaders.

    • Hey,

      Thanks for commenting.

      It can be easy to not call someone back. It’s an option town leaders and local politicians have used for a long time, I’m sure. It’s just a part of writing the story each morning.

      Jonathan

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