How to make news?

How do people channel their front-page tips to the journalists working for reputable news outlets (such as Wall Street Journal)? As we know, Harry Markopolos could not convince Wall Street Journal to work on exposing Mr. Madoff.

Let’s say, there is a solid lead about something more significant than slowing down air traffic nation-wide but less anti-Constitutional than monitoring everyone’s email. What would be a good way to offer such a material, provided it is well substantiated?

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9 Responses to How to make news?

  1. wizardpc says:

    Send it to Radley Balko? I think he still lives in Nashville

  2. Publius says:

    Assuming it’s of national importance:

    Given the attitudinal biases of most major US newsrooms, I’d give the Brits a try. They seem to be breaking the most important stories recently.

    (You know, it’s just one of those jobs you can’t get Americans to do…)

  3. Paul Koning says:

    It depends on the story. You’d look for an outlet that is biased towards exposing stories of that kind. For example, the WSJ is biased to excusing invasion of rights when “security” is put forth as the justification.
    If left wingers are likely to approve, send it to Fox News or Glenn Beck or The Blaze. If right wingers are likely to approve, the NY Times or MSNBC or HuffPost. If both are likely to approve, try the Guardian in the UK (which exposed the latest spying scandals).
    It’s like selling any product — you have to know your customer, and there is a customer for just about any product.

  4. Ish says:

    You can also just go New Media and bypass the clearing houses of the old system. If the material is well substantiated and the information truly important, then post it here. Cite your sources, link your supporting arguments, and post PDFs of any raw documents you excerpt. Let your fan-base (which isn’t massive, but hardly tiny) spread the story, get it out there, maybe get it viral… eventually, the “news” might even cover it.

    The “Fast and Furious” was in the gun blogs long before it was part of the greater conservative pundit-o-sphere… and it was in the right wing echo chamber for quite a while before it got picked up (reluctantly) by the “real journalists.”

  5. Jake Dorsey says:

    As a journalist, the best thing I can tell you is to go to someone you trust.

    You can cite a lot of documents and create a lot of arguments, but at the end of the day it comes down to trust. You have to convince that person to go for it, especially if it’s risky.

    That person’s going to know your biases, your perspectives and your angle if you have one. They will know how to take what you give them to an editor and convince them to write the piece. Just because it might seem like a big story doesn’t mean a regional or state paper can’t handle it.

    Sometimes you need a trustworthy intermediary. Someone who can talk to the media for you, filter out your biases (perceived and real) and get someone to go for your story.

    Another way, and sometimes the most effective way, is to just point someone in the right direction. Don’t tell the whole story or make the entire argument. Just say enough to make a journalist want to go out and find the story themselves. It piques their curiosity enough, they’ll do it without you giving them a roadmap.

    It takes relationships to really make the media wheels grind. Documents and sources might make the story, but they won’t always start it.

  6. You might try asking DavidCodrea or Mike Vanderboeh … they could help and might even have a good contact for you.

  7. Rivrdog says:

    First thing to remember, Oleg, is that YOU are NOT “making the news”, you are only presenting it for others’ consideration.

    Blog it yourself.

    When you blog it, use an informative headline so that the reader-apps will pick it up.

    From there, tweet it with an original hashtag, or piggyback on a well-known hashtag. With Twitter, it doesn’t matter who you are, you’ll get picked up quickly.

    Like in cooking, presentation is everything. If the diner at a fine restaurant stops to admire the layout of a meal on the plate, they will never complain about how it tastes (unless they are a paid complainer).

  8. LarryArnold says:

    Marry a reporter. Works about 20% of the time.

  9. Mick says:

    Breitbart and Beck come to mind, as well as PJMedia. Can’t hurt.

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