As reporters we are going to talk to you, it’s just the way the machine works. We have to talk to people in order to make a living, or in our case here at The Northerner, learn how to make a living.
It might be a little unnerving to speak to a reporter, but ultimately we are here to help you. We’re trying to get the most informative, unbiased story possible, so talking to us is beneficial to the public. If we are asking you for a comment or to sit down for an interview, we aren’t trying to bring you down or make you look bad — it is to get all sides of the story.
Despite what some people might say about journalists and the journalism field, The Northerner is here for the students. Without cooperation from sources, we’re left with one-sided stories, which are no help to anyone at the university.
Since The Northerner staff is entirely made up of students we are going to make mistakes, but we are learning. We won’t get better if the sources we reach out to refuse to speak to us or aren’t understanding of our policies and procedures.
Two of those policies are we don’t do email interviews and we don’t email questions before an interview. Not all sources will, but some may formulate answers ahead of time to work to their advantage or have someone else answer them — that makes the story untruthful, which is the exact opposite of what we strive to do here at The Northerner. We seek and want to know the truth.
If you are in a student organization and your adviser says you can’t speak to The Northerner, that’s wrong. No one on campus can tell you not to speak to us. As a public university, anyone is open to talk to whomever, so if a faculty member tells you not to, you don’t really have to listen. You won’t get in trouble. When someone says they can’t speak it stops us from getting information needed to complete articles.
We can’t get better at what we do if sources refuse to speak to us, help us make sure we get as close to the truth as we possibly can.