No one is calling me back! What should I do?



Don’t panic.  And don’t just sit there.

— Try asking their assistants for suggestions of other people who might be helpful.

— If your source is on campus, go see if you can find her or him.

— Try a source database

— Think of a way into the story that doesn’t require comment from the sources you’ve tried.  Ask people on the street for their opinion about a topic.  Ask them if they’re had an experience with whatever you’re reporting on.

— Gather your string and b-roll

— Spend time smartening up; read more articles about the subject.

In general: as soon as you’ve been assigned a story, start reaching out to sources. Ten minutes spent e-mailing potential sources the night before your story is due could save you hours.  Give e-mail inquiries time; not everyone checks their phones as often as you do.  Give people you’ve called an hour before calling back, deadline permitting. Explain in your calls and emails that you have a deadline.  Make sure you convey your understanding that they are busy, too.  You’ll find that if you’re solicitous and polite, your persistence will be rewarded.


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This is a resource hub to help student reporters at the Annenberg Media Center.

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