It’s never bad to get another source

Prefer Brahara is one of my favorite interviewers. He has a great technique, using a bit of humor, but a ton of research to get his subjects to reveal information. You can see that he was a good prosecutor.

But he has 40 minutes to do his interviews. I can’t tell you how much easier it is to interview someone when you have that much time. I often hear people say Howard Stern is the best interviewer. Of course it seems that way. His guests are there for a long time. He can slowly dig into an issue, building a rapport along the while. He also benefits from not being considered a “serious” journalist.

It’s tough to do an interview in six minutes.

That was a topic Brahara brought up with Katy Tur on his podcast, “Stay Tuned with Preet.”

The interview is fantastic, particularly because Tur honestly is one of the best broadcast journalists in the business today.

The show gave me some pause at point, but I also felt joy when Tur said something.

“It’s never bad to get another source,” Tur said.

According to Tur, she’s seen a change in in the industry in which editors are willing to sit to get another check on a story.

Now, someone will read this and say, the problem was all along that the press relied on too many one-source stories. They were reckless. That’s not the case. There rarely are one source stories. These journalists are talking to a lot of people on background. Those sources aren’t cited in stories anonymously. A journalist might have just talked with them to back up information. Or to get information that lead to the source whose information is used in the story.

I’ve been amazed with some stories in the Washington Post and New York Times in which they have more than a dozen sources referenced in their story. That likely means they have talked to even more people than that.

But Tur is right, it’s always good to get another source. Whenever I did stories of substance I’d finish my interview with a simple question: “Who else should I talk to?”

Now, I wasn’t the world’s best journalist. But I had some good stories. And more often than not the best ones came as a result of what the person said after that last question.

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