As a journalist, there is never any guarantee that your story will remain the same from the time you think of it to when it actually hits the presses. So many things can alter a story from new information being released, a more expert source being discovered, or the common instance when a source does not get back to you at all.
I know I’ve dedicated more than one post to this situation, but I keep running into different aspects. Since I’ve written for a few newspapers, I am somewhat used to unresponsiveness from adults. When it is my piers, or even classmates, however, is when it truly becomes annoying.
This week, I had a fantastic source for a profile who just happened to be a fellow Appalachian State student. I was in contact with this student over the weekend, and she was extremely excited about having a story done about her. Come Tuesday when I attempted to make definite plans for the in-person interview, I received no response.
I sent her multiple messages asking to reschedule since it was past the initial time slot I had asked her about to no avail. It came to a point today where I had to set a deadline for her to get back to me, which she ended up not meeting, and I had to completely change my story.
Thankfully, I had a backup in mind just in case something like this would happen. And even though this story is just as good as my initial idea, it infuriates me to no end when people do not respond with no explanation, especially when you can see that they have seen your messages and still do not respond. I do not believe that people realize that as a journalist, I am on a deadline, and I cannot sit around and wait for a source to be ready to talk with me.
If one story does not work out, I have no choice to move on to the next one. In a perfect world, this would only happen in a classroom setting, yet I know that this is a regular part of a professional journalist’s job. Therefore, it’s probably a good thing that I know how to combat this problem now rather than waiting until I’m getting more than just a grade on a story.