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Pittsburgh PD leaks Pittsburgh P-G scoop

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by FileNotFound, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    Maybe I need to turn in my journalist card for feeling this way, but: Is it really a source's responsibility to protect an exclusive? In a world where so many interviews are being conducted by e-mail (and so many sources are insisting on being interviewed only by e-mail), I'm frankly surprised this doesn't happen more.

    Your thoughts?

  2. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    Absolutely shitty of the PD.

    This has happened in my shop -- the PD responding to our request with a mass email that tipped off the competition -- but at least in our case, they didn't include a copy of our original email.
  3. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    While working for my student paper, I made an open-records request for this pretty nice amd unique bit of information. The exclusive would have warranted all the big-boy papers' reaction, and they would have had to cite my report. I had a source in the athletics department who tipped me off and everything.

    In other words, this was going to be a really big deal for me and my career, at least in my mind.

    But the senior associate athletics director for communications had a long-running feud with the student paper and a shorter but perhaps more heated dislike for me, so she took the information I wanted, typed it up in it's entirety as a news release and sent it to everyone who covered the team. A few days later, I got an envelope in the mail with the actual records and a note that said something along the lines of, "I hope this suits your needs. Thanks!"

  4. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    Happens every day here in Whoville.

    Send an e-mail looking for some info on a tip or some such and the PIO passes the info onto his media darling of choice, usually the very pretty female TV reporter types, before he sends the information along to my shop.

    The PIO thinks, and is very likely correct, that he's cultivating relationships with the other media and they are unaware, generally, that the info came from a print request.
  5. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    I once had an exclusive about a kid leaving school. The fucking SID told my competition about the story and ruined the exclusive. The one thing the competition didn't have was quotes from the kid, which I had.
    I still considered it an exclusive and I definitely told the SID what I thought of his shitty assed move.
    Damn, I'm still miffed about it after all these years.
  6. Canuck Pappy

    Canuck Pappy Member

    If you have a scoop like this don't conduct your business by email. It's lazy and too easy to share and pass on. Ask those questions in person.
  7. You'd think reporters would know to limit their paper trail.
  8. bueller

    bueller Member

    There's a pro team that I cover on a commuter basis. There's an executive at the team, when I've learned of a potential scoop, who has said many times "we have to make sure our guys (the main beat writers) get it first." I don't call that executive when something happens.
  9. GlenQuagmire

    GlenQuagmire Active Member

    Agreed. I'd rather not conduct my business via email. But, according to this comment left in the linked story, that police department seems to have a policy that requires questions in writing (something I don't agree with at all).

    Charlie Deitch
    I'm a reporter in the market and received the email Sunday night. Typically this police department requires questions in writing, especially when they are destined for the chief. They are definitely not the first reporters to send sensitive questions to this office via email, I've done it myself. But this is the first time this has happened.
  10. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    The Post-Gazette should have considered all their correspondence with the PD as "on the record" unless otherwise specified.

    What was the "exclusive" btw? Maybe the answers would have been if they had been given exclusively to them, but was no one else following up on this story?

    The most startling fact in this story is that the Pittsburgh Police had a list of 200 reporters. How far and wide did they have to go to find 200 interested reporters?

    FInal thought: hasn't it been previously suggested that reporters file FOI requests seeking all FOI requests made to different governmental agencies? Pretty smart way to see what others are working on.
  11. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    Not far at all on the total number as that number would also include broadcast reporters, anchors, producers, assigning editors and web folks plus the print and radio and wire services. Two hundred seems a little low once I start thinking about it.
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