Source Development for Freelance Journalists

There are many ways reporters get information, but none is more important than obtaining tips from a reliable insider.

Tuesday April 30
Classroom 3
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM


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When Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou launched a series in 2014 that exposed how health care providers bilked Medicare out of billions, he relied on a billing expert to educate him on payments. He won the Pulitzer. Two years later that same source tipped him to a second scandal in which Carreyrou revealed the tech company Theranos to be a fraud. He won the George Polk. One source. Two career-defining scoops.

So how does one get such a person?

This session examines that challenge, exploring the best methods for identifying and developing sources -- from finding employees, experts and whistleblowers to gaining their trust to convincing them to provide increasingly sensitive information.

You will leave the session having learned:

  • Techniques for locating workers at government agencies and private companies and discuss how to approach them

  • How to reassure someone who is anxious about working with you

  • How to protect your source from being exposed

  • About the Instructor: 

    Brad Hamilton is an investigative editor with more than 30 years in the business. He created and led the New York Post's award-winning investigations unit, which reported numerous front-page exclusives, and now heads The Hatch Institute, which in 2015 won a national award for investigative reporting from the American Society of Journalists and Authors.