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Defensetracker.com » Contact

Contact

The best way to get in touch with DefenseTracker.com is to send an email to: Rick.Rogers@defensetracker.com or Rick.W.Rogers@gmail.com.

Questions or letters will be responded to within 24 hours. Emails are checked at least twice a day, at 8 a.m. (west coast time) and again at 4 p.m.

If something is absolutely pressing, call (760) 445-3882.

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Submit a Story Idea

Tell me your story…

Some of the best stories I’ve ever written sprang from ideas submitted by readers, including one that turned into a 500-plus inch story that changed my life.

And my experience is NOT unique. Unsolicited letters, emails and telephone calls drive the media mill and always have.

Now that news departments are evaporating faster then desert pools this kind of civic participation is more important than ever. In fact, I would argue that democracy depends upon it.

This, of course, is all preamble to my pitch: Send me a story idea!

Not sure you have one? Here’s a brief checklist of things reporters look for when weighing a story.

1. Strength in numbers. How many people are affected? Generally, the more people affected by something, the better the chance of a story. It must be conceded, however, that journalists are connoisseurs of the unique.

2. Do we have a trend? What’s causing an issue or situation? Is the problem systemic? Is it local? Will the story of one person highlight a larger issue? This is often a tough question for the layperson to answer, but one foremost in the mind of the reporter.

3. What’s at stake? Are we talking about the difference between life and death or difference between sirloin and tri-tip? Publications want stories that matter.

4. Perfection is not the standard. When or how often is something happening? Is it rare or routine? Neither people nor institutions are expected to be prefect. If the VA screws up and occasionally double-books an appointment, that is one thing. If the VA continually screws up heart operations, that is another matter.

5. Location, location, location. It matters where something is happening. A problem with the new GI Bill or veteran healthcare is more important in San Diego County than elsewhere because of its large veteran population. Most publications don’t care what’s going on unless it matters to its readership.

6. There’s something happening here. Why is something happening — or not happening — here? Did someone screw up? Did someone make a wise decision that is now paying off? Do you have objective proof?

7. You didn’t get this from me. Is someone willing to attach his name to a story? The public is wisely skeptical about unnamed sources. In general, on the record is much preferred to off the record.

8. A picture is worth at least a thousand good words. Are there good picture opportunities associated with the story? Stories need visuals and not people cutting a ribbon or sitting at a desk.

9. Coming in second is no trick. Is the story fresh or old? In other words, have others recently done something on the subject? If so, the chances of publishing success are not great.

10. He said, she said stories suck. Everybody can complain about something. But if you are going to allege unethical, immoral or illegal behavior, you better have proof or at least strong circumstantial evidence. He said, she said stories are usually non-starters because they often lack substance.

11. How much money are we talking about? Time-honored journalism questions used to be: who, what, when, where, how and why. More recently “how much” has been added to the list. How much something costs does matter. If a service or item is very expensive or very cheap, it could be a story. No one gets tired of reading about $7,000 toilet seats.

12. If you don’t know, you better ask somebody. When in doubt, call or email or write. Sometimes people just don’t know what they have.

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