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Calling sources

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by MeanGreenATO, Jan 1, 2012.

  1. MeanGreenATO

    MeanGreenATO Active Member

    I don't know if this question has already been asked on here, but how many times do y'all call sources before it's harassing them? Do you call in time increments, or only certain times in a day?

    I've been taught you call twice and leave a message, but I'd love to hear what y'all have to say.
  2. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    How bad do you want or need to talk to the source?

    If you're giving up after two calls with a message, you're going to have a lot of empty notebooks.
  3. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    If you're on deadline: Call once, leave a message. When possible, make that first call at around 9 a.m., particularly if you're trying to reach a person at an office. Then call once an hour every hour without leaving a message. I would advise that you only call a source after 9 p.m. or before 8 a.m. in extreme circumstances. But you're not crossing any line unless you're told not to call.

    If you're not on deadline: Call at least once a day, anyway. Leave a message every few calls, maybe four times in a week. Again, until you're told not to call, you're fine.
  4. Rule No. 1 of reporting: Don't be afraid to be a pest.
  5. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Versatile gives good advice. Unless it's urgent, or the person knows you're calling (like a coach, to get a score after a game), try to follow the 9 o'clock rule. Never call before 9 a.m. or after 9 p.m.

    If they're not calling you back right away, try sending a text message if you have the cell number. I'm finding a lot of people (especially high school coaches who might be teaching classes during the day) can't call back right away, but they'll return a text pretty quickly. You can at least get an idea of when they're free.
  6. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Be sure to ask if it's OK to text a person. Not everyone gets free text messages.
  7. SixToe

    SixToe Well-Known Member

    Cultivate multiple sources, if possible, and stay in touch with them.

    I found out today one of my best sources is retired. We haven't spoken in probably 6-7 months, which is my fault, and now I'm down one very strong source.

    The good thing is I could call and just talk about routine stuff, kids, happenings, and I'd pick up a little tip or get a question answered. Friendly business.
  8. podunk press

    podunk press Active Member

    I regularly e-mail my good sources regularly, often when I do not need something. I make note of when they reply, and try to call them at that time.
  9. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Calling smallpotatoes to the white courtesy phone.
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