The Gross National Debt

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Report on what?

We regularly get calls, emails, messages, letters wrapped around bricks, people stopping us anywhere and everywhere that say:

"You need to do a story on this."

This is the issue du jour for the folks whose frame is bent out of shape. It can be anything. Somebody got fired. Somebody harassed someone. Someone lied, cheated, stole, abused their position.

These people hardly ever will speak on the record about this.

Yet, we're supposed to report on this.

No on the record information. No paper trail. No sources who can be quoted. No one who will publicly stand up and say this happened to me. Only off the record information.

Not. Going. To. Happen.

The national media is fond of using "sources close to the matter," "anonymous sources" and "sources speaking on condition of anonymity."

These three phrases are media-speak for "Hey. There's no way you can verify this independently."

As a card-carrying member of the media, I say it is also "Hey. We just made this shift up and there's no way you can tell if we're lying or not."


The newspaper I run does not use anonymous sources. We will and do take anonymous information. We try to verify it. If we can verify information, we may have a story. May not.

Sometimes we find out the anonymous info is true. Sometimes it is not.

We don't report rumors.

We encourage people to call us with information, anonymous or  not. But understand, unless we get someone to stand up and speak on the record, it's not going to be reported.

We're not in the business of making stuff up and presenting lies and rumor as fact.


Sources have, do and will lie on the record. Not much we can do about that. We report what people say and what the records reflect. If they lie, then the fault is theirs. If we catch the lie after their words are printed, we'll come back and tell you they lied.


If we make a mistake, and we do, we'll correct it. We're not perfect. Everyone will make mistakes. The only people who don't make mistakes never do anything.


We're going to listen to you, whether you speak on the record or off the record. But if you truly, sincerely and genuinely want the story in the paper, then speak on the record.

If all you want is rumor, innuendo, snide accusations and multi-level entendres, stick to Facebook,

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