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  • Spencer Norris

The Passion of the Source

Please, for the love of God, give me a lead.


I’ve spent a ridiculous number of hours trying to track down sources for two feature pieces this past couple weeks, to almost no avail. I’m getting bounced, ignored, redirected, connected, disconnected, deferred and verb’d in every other way, other than informed.


Turns out that not many people like to talk about their problems, at least not to reporters. Police don’t like to talk about what happens in their department. Private citizens don’t like to talk about things that have hurt them. Both understandable, neither helpful to a reporter.


I’m learning how to think and talk my way around these problems though. Police won’t talk to you? An advocacy group might. The state doesn’t keep a list of bus drivers? Maybe there’s a database of complaints that names them. I suppose that sources will inevitably blow up in your face, but the mark of a competent reporter is the ability to work around those roadblocks and forge a path ahead.


I’m getting more competent every day! I almost feel like a real, competent reporter! Just give me more time to get my sources together.

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© 2019 by Spencer Norris