Sometimes I think it would be easier to be a gossip columnist, rather than a reporter. Oh, to just be able to say, “according to a reliable source” and have that be good enough. Alas, we here at TC Daily Planet frown on anonymous sources. If we are going to report something, we try to stick with the policy of being able to attribute a fact to a particular person or source where we got the information.
It can be frustrating, when you have information, but don’t have enough verification to report it.
This is not to say that anonymous sources can’t be helpful. I rely on several people to give me “background information,” or to tip me off that something is happening in a particular area that I cover. But after I talk to an anonymous source, ideally I need to find verification somewhere else.
In the case of my current wanna-be story, I have been told there’s a story by more than one person. Unfortunately, the primary players won’t talk. Won’t return phone calls. Won’t answer emails. For six weeks, I’ve been chasing the story, but the primary players are still mum. I’ve talked to them in the past, reported on their projects in a positive way – but now nothing.
I get why it’s scary to talk to reporters. Funding for the arts is scarce. Funding for any non-profits is tough to come by, and it’s especially tough for non-profits in economically disadvantaged communities. Put all those elements together — arts, non-profits, economically disadvantaged communities — and the situation is delicate. I understand why there is a fear that an article bringing to light some conflicts within the organization might end up spiraling.
But I feel, and maybe I’m naïve about this, that more public information is better than less; that secrets can never serve the greater good; and that if there’s a problem, it’s best to have out with it so that it can be fixed in time.
I hope that, sooner rather than later, I’ll hear from the people involved, and will be able to present the full story.