I need acesss. Access to what you may ask? Access to people mainly.
I got into media business not really knowing what media business is. I created hyperlocal media news and information sites. Now the problem is to get stories you need access. It is people who give you information from which you write stories.
The Ethical Dilemma on how to get access.
There is a way to get access. Tell the person who gives you information that you will bat for him. You will promote him or her or their interest. You go to thier parties, drink their booze to gain their confidence. You become part of their group. This is something I am not good at. I also find it unethical. How do I remain impartial and unbiased. The energy I derive to do my unpaying work is through my value of ethics. So the moment I compromise my ethics to get stories, i lose interest in running my media business. This is a complex dilemma.
Can you get access without compromising on your ethics and integirty?
Barkha Dutt in the Radia Tapes scam says, she was just cultivating a source and not compromising her journalistic values. But the moment misleading the souce/access you are compromised in my opinion.
New Paradigm to get access
Now what if the source comes to you instead of you going to him. This is much better scenario to gain access. The big question is why would a source come to you?
Now this is how you reverse engineer a source. You don’t go asking for access, but engineer it that the access comes to you.
Some examples of access coming to you
- A college principal going to the student and offering her/him the best course in college and waving off fees.
- A politician offering help with news and information cause he needs the story published.
- People thinking that you can solve their problems like a fake Sadhu/doctor who gives you placebo pills