"I have a beef. I have been a subscriber for 40 years. I am so sick of reading about (name here). There are other people in town. Why canıt you find someone else and write about them for a change." -- reader who once called to complain

You see it all the time. The same people interviewed or photographed. Itıs a particular concern in small communities. When we interview the same people over and over, we are shortchanging our readers. A reporter who covers his/her community well seeks out new views. By doing so, you will cultivate more sources, become more knowledgeable about your community, and open your reporting mind to fresh viewpoints.

Newspapers and reporters that allow themselves to become dominated by the 'movers and shakersı of a community are not in touch with their community. They become in touch only with a select few. No editor says you have to talk to all 22,500 subscribers and 190,000 people in the community. But reporters do need to make every effort to cultivate a variety of sources.

When working on a story, ask yourself:

  • Who is affected?
  • Who can I talk to that I haven't interviewed previously?
  • Has this person been interviewed before?
  • Is there a compelling reason why this person has to be the one interviewed?
  • Am I interviewing this person because it's the easy approach?
  • Will this person contribute a fresh view?

-- Gregg McLachlan