>Go to the source

Newspaper articles depend on interviews. They are not term papers where you look up everything that other people have written and quote them. Background research is certainly helpful, but good reporters talk to people. Rather than quote what somebody else wrote, we need to find our own sources. They will lend life, freshness and accuracy to our work. If we take our information from what other people have written, we run the risk of copying something that has been said over and over, and it may not even be accurate.

Go to the source, the person who knows the most about the subject, whatever it is, and ask your own questions. Likewise, if you read about a study and want to quote the results, don’t take them from a published article; find the original study results and draw your own conclusions. Usually if you search for the organization that did the survey, you can find its website and read the search results there.

Newspaper writing often requires quick work. We don’t have much time to do research, but people believe what we write. We need to make sure they can trust every word, even if that means leaving something out because we’re just not sure about it.

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