I’m a reporter and unless I’m ranting in an editorial piece like the one you’re reading we aren’t allowed to say anything in the ‘news’ ourselves. We can only repeat what others have said.
I often get remarks, “you should do this or cover that.”
I say, “You know, you’re right. That would be a story, can I quote you on that?”
People usually respond, “We’ll you didn’t hear it from me.”
“Fine,” I say, “Who can I talk to, who will go on the record? Where did you get your information?”
“I can’t tell you that, I don’t want to get people in trouble.”
That is a conversation I’ve had a hundred times.
Think about it. I can say I got my information from reliable source ‘A’, hence the whole system of quoting and credibility. Attacking an agency like DSS or the Sheriff’s Office based on unconfirmed, unidentified source, ‘B.S.,’ might be good enough for gossip but not for professional journalism.
Another one frequently asked is, “Why don’t you tell the other side of the story?”
My answer, “No one wanted to tell it to me.”
Take the Plymouth Fires for example, a lot of fishy circumstances and tons of complaining and speculation. Watch how fast those remarks evaporate when I ask, “ Is that on the record?”
So I’m left with what I’m given or what I get, that’s it. The system isn’t perfect and sometimes the truth is dangerous to those that tell it. The truth people find comes from an origin else where and the key is finding that trail of bread crumbs.