I do my own investigative journalism. I don’t get all my facts or quotes from a newspaper, I often go right to the sources and email or speak to them directly. I also on occasion will send the Daily Times-Call a news tip. It’s usually something I put a lot of work into, but think it’s worth them possibly digging a little deeper with the resources they have, and possibly printing it. The only thing I ask in return is partial credit if they use some of the work I’ve done. I don’t think they’ve actually run one of my news tips, and that’s fine, it’s their paper.
On March 24th, 2007 I wrote a piece about “Kids’ Nite Out”, I then posted it around 1am on March 25th to YourHub. I was surprised to see it on the front page of the Longmont section online, even more surprised that it went on the printed edition on March 29th. I had a couple of conversations with Kids’ Nite Out Managing Partner Eileen White on March 25th and 26th, and based on some new information I updated the story on YourHub, although the printed version was the original.
I then noticed the Times-Call repeatedly visiting my site between the 28th and 30th via an IP tracker. This doesn’t even count the visits to my YourHub story and site. Then on the 31st this story ran on the front page of their paper: Kids can come and go, Program at recreation center forced to change strict policy, by Rachel Carter. They quoted the same source I contacted, which was not the same name found on the original letter given to us by Kids’ Nite Out. Also, this policy change happened back around January. It was never reported until I wrote about it over 3 months later. Then coincidentally, within a week, it shows up on the Times-Call?
My write-up on this wasn’t just an opinion piece. I researched state law and interviewed the above mentioned person. The Times-Call interviewed the same person and others, and did a fairly decent job in reporting it. They also have staff that do this for a living. I do this as a sideline, I don’t get paid, and I don’t have subscribers. I do like beating them to a story, and wouldn’t mind if they used some of it in their own reporting, as long as credit is given. I once beat them by two weeks on some work I was doing on railroad noise and regulations, another front page story. Since it was mentioned in a city council meeting I couldn’t verify they got the idea from me.
Some history: A few years ago I was given permission to republish parts of the Times-Call on my website, as long as proper credit was given, which I’ve always done. I was also told that on occasion at least one reporter would check out my site, possibly to see what else was going on or what might’ve been missed. I’m flattered, but never asked for anything in return, not even a free subscription, which I pay for twice a year. But when I research and write, I’m not anonymously giving to a charity. I give credit where it is due, and I only ask for the same in return.