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?
I was always of the impression that this already happened.
Not always, and not enough.
Private Eye supposedly gets its stories this way.
Phoenix also, but there are other buyers out there, and a little competition never hurt anybody.
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