Getting someone on the record for an article

For the past few weeks, I’ve written a short series of articles about a former teacher facing legal action. First article dealt with her facing tenure charges, the second article about her appealing them (which was to be expected and is routine) while the third was about contempt charges filed against her.

Because the teacher had worked in the city we cover but lives outside of our jurisdiction, I’ve been writing the past few articles and have been sending them to a reporter/editor of one of our sister papers for them to print in their edition. So, this past week I received info that the teacher allegedly made inappropriate remarks in court. One source of my colleague confirmed it, but declined to go on record. So, the day we were laying out the paper I made phone calls until I was able to get one court official to confirm the story.

Whew!

It was one of those last-ditch things: if the court official had declined to comment, we likely would’ve had to hold the story.

This is the exciting game in journalism: building a list of sources who are willing to give you “anonymous” tips about things going on and who might be willing to provide you with some crucial information and developing solid relationships where you can get this information that might be inaccessible to other writers.

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