If you are a journalist, and especially a student journalist, your world revolves around sources. These sources are what make your story. So when they choose to ignore you, or they are not reachable, you can run into quite a few issues.
In the past, I have had sources ignore me, reply once and then never again, and then those that just do not show up to interviews. You would think that being in the newspaper, or any publication for that matter, would be enticing enough to people to get a response out of them. For some reason, student journalists just aren’t worthy of a few people’s time though, and you just have to accept that and find the next source.
There is nothing more frightening then hearing the words, “She/He is unreachable right now” especially when they are the one person you need to talk to. If you take the time to move just one step down the ladder though, you may find at least one person that is willing to talk to you. Today, I went to get information about an artist that was coming to campus from Poland only to find out that she has not even been contacting those she’s been working with on a regular basis. When I said what I was doing, however, I found more than five people willing to help me with my story.
With this in mind, your first choice source not working out is a bit of a roadblock. If you’ve only contacted them once with no avail, keep trying. If they do not comply after three tries and multiple mediums, find someone else, but do not wait till the day before deadline. That is when people will not be too happy with you. So start extra early in the case that one source does not work, that way you will still have time on your hands to go investigating for another.