Chatting with a regional reporter, we got round to anecdotes about “the one that got away”.
Every regional journalist has stories like that. A minor scandal, an odd item on a council expense sheet, a row between rival TDs or councillors, a prominent local priest or businessman with some unorthodox political opinions.
There are lots of stories like that. And sometimes, because a newspaper cannot afford to annoy an advertiser, or a politician who is a major source, or simply because the editor think s readers won’t appreciate criticism of a local, here, those stories are spiked.
And because the reporter’s name will appear under the story, it’s not possible to sell it on to a national title either.
So I suggested that, the next time my friend had such a story, I was only a phone call away. I could take a briefing, re-do the story, and publish it under my name. We’d split the fees, and the local big wigs would blame me.
Then we extended the idea. What about Secret Agency, a news agency which would allow local reporters to funnel the risky local stories to national attention?
Am I dreaming, or is this a good idea?