"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.

 

Get This

Last Update on September 23, 2014 09:07 GMT

CAVALIERS-LEBRON FAN

CLEVELAND (AP) -- LeBron James is back and so is his super fan. James Blair was banned by the Cavaliers after he ran onto the floor during a Cleveland-Miami game in 2013. He was wearing a homemade T-shirt saying: "We Miss You" on the front and "2014 Come Back" on the back. James even patted the guy on the head as he was whisked away. The Cavs say team officials met with Blair and have determined he's not a security threat. He'll be allowed to return to watch the Cavs play. James re-signed with the Cavs as a free agent this summer.

SEATTLE MARIJUANA TICKETS

SEATTLE (AP) -- All the pot tickets in Seattle are going up in smoke. City Attorney Pete Holmes says he's tossing out the citations for public use of marijuana issued during the first seven months of the year. Holmes says most of those tickets were issued by a single police officer who disagrees with the state's legal pot law. While retail sales of marijuana were legalized, smoking pot in public remains a violation. The prosecutor's office is also moving to refund the $27 fines already paid by 22 people who were cited for public marijuana use. The officer has been temporarily reassigned.

VIRGINIA ALCOHOL SALES

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Virginians are thirsty. The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control says booze sales have set another record. This makes 16 straight years Virginians have bought booze at record levels. Officials report more than 52 million bottles of wine, spirits and nonalcoholic mixers were sold in state liquor stores during the last fiscal year. Jack Daniels remains the top-selling brand, followed by Smirnoff 80, Jim Beam and Grey Goose.

METH-TACO TRUCK

DENVER (AP) -- There was more than spicy food on the taco truck. Authorities in Colorado charge a drug ring was selling meth out of a food truck in Denver. The Colorado Attorney General's Office says 15 people were arrested yesterday and two others are wanted. Authorities also report seizing 55 pounds of meth in the investigation.

 
Advertise with us!

Should Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius resign or be asked to resign by the President because of problems with the rollout of healthcare.gov and health care reform?

Yes
No
I Don't Know



Poll Results

25.83% Yes
25.54% No
48.61% I Don't Know

Talkers