"Please Don't Talk To Anyone Else" - 01/10/14

  One of the most overused word in television news these days is "exclusive."  The Nashville tv news landscape is competitive and has been for decades.  Every news person worth his or her salt is eager to tell stories no one else knows about.  That's what it's all about, telling your viewers things they don't know but would be interested to hear.  Being first is the holy grail in journalism.  The root word of "news" is "new."  It's not as important as being right, but it's important. 

  In recent years, I've noticed something happening in Nashville news more and more.  Reporters at some television stations ask for interviews and then ask people like you not to speak to any other reporters who may call or stop by requesting comment.  I'm told there have even been instances where a reporter offers cash if you'll interview with them and tell everyone else no comment. 

  To me, that's wrong.  Journalism is a profession.  As a reporter, I'm searching for the truth and as many sides to the argument as I can identify.  I have never asked an interview subject not to speak with any of my colleagues.  After we talk, I synthesize the message they've shared with me, ask if I have an accurate understanding of thier position and then I thank them for speaking to me.  Not once have I ever said on the way out, please don't speak to anyone else.  Not once have I ever offered money in exchange for an interview.  I've had people ask.  I've had attorneys offer interviews with a client if I agree to steer clear of certain questions.  I always simply said thanks, but I can't agree to those terms.  It's intellectually dishonest.  It violates what I consider a sacred trust with my viewer.  I'm not for sale.  I'm your advocate.  I'm here to ask the questions you'd ask.

  I'm hearing so many examples of this kind of "reporting," I'm beginning to wonder if some news managers are encouraging or instructing their people to engage in this kind of newsgathering.  If that's happening, shame on both of you.  Shame on the news manager for violating what I consider a code of ethics.  And shame on any news reporter who bows to pressure to behave in this manner. 

  I don't say it's exclusive unless I know for sure this is a story you won't see anywhere else.  I have asked interview subjects to let me know if they interview with anyone else so I won't say "exclusive."  That's fair.  I respect my competitors.  I've always believed if I do everything I can think of to collect information, pictures, interviews I'll end of no worse than even with you at the end of the day.  I've made a career of putting my witts and work ethic against my competitors. 

  I consider this an honorable profession.  Anyone who engages in the practices I just described needs to check themselves, remember what business they're in and the position of trust they occupy.  I've been at this a long time.  My viewers come first.  It's not about me.  It's about you.  Telling you the truth to the best of my ability is what I promise.  It's all I'm selling.  And no matter how journalism changes, the truth and professional integrity never goes out of style.

 

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Last Update on July 28, 2014 09:10 GMT

FIST BUMPS-GERMS

NEW YORK (AP) -- Worried about germs? Then, bump rather than shake. Fist bumps spread only one-20th of the amount of bacteria compared to a handshake. Researchers writing in the American Journal of Infection Control report a high-five is about half as germy as a shake. So, President Barack Obama maybe on to something with his preference for a fist bump.

NUDE MODELS-MANHATTAN

NEW YORK (AP) -- New York really was "the naked city" -- at least on Saturday. Artists painted the bodies of 40 nude models, turning an entrance to Central Park into a celebration of the human form. Artist Andy Golub staged what he called the inaugural Bodypainting Day. It only happened after a long legal battle. Golub and a model were arrested in 2011 during a body-painting project in Times Square. The city paid model Zoe West a $15,000 settlement after she sued. Public nudity is legal in the Big Apple when part of a performance.

'SPIDER-MAN' CHARGED

NEW YORK (AP) -- Say it ain't so Spidey! Spider-Man is charged with slugging a police officer in New York's Times Square. In this case, the web-slinger is Junior Bishop. Authorities say he was dressed as Spider-Man and demanded that tourists pay him to pose for pictures. According to officers, Bishop was yelling and cursing, then punched a police officer in the face. He now faces a number of charges, including assault and resisting arrest.

FEMALE OFFICIAL

UNDATED (AP) -- Cat Conti is earning her stripes, as a college football official. She'll be on the field at the Southeast Missouri State-Kansas game on September 6, making her the first woman to work a football game in the Big 12 Conference. But Conti never was interested in sports growing up in Southern California. She wanted to be a Hollywood star. She says she developed a passion for football while in college and became fascinated with the chain crew. Conti went on to be a ninth grade English and drama teacher, while serving as a part-time official. She went all-in on zebra stripes about four years ago. Now, she says she just wants to be treated like one of the guys.

 
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