Have you ever been ripped off by a business and needed help getting your money back? Witnessed first-hand a government agency abusing taxpayer-funded resources? Found out your doctor had a mile-long record of discipline from the state?
As an investigative reporter, I firmly believe everyone has a story, and I'm ready to listen. So I wanted to offer up a few suggestions on ensuring your tip gets the attention it deserves.
1. Include your contact information. I have received some fantastic tips, but if I can't correspond with the tipster, I often can't fully dig into the story. If you are concerned about retaliation or revealing your identity, setup a discreet email address so I can ask questions, seek clarification, or discuss my findings with you. If you're not worried about some type of pushback, then please include your full name, phone number(s), and email address when you're sending the initial tip.
2. Keep it concise. When crafting your email, letter, or phone call, try to hit all the high points succinctly. Include important dates and let me know if you have documentation (receipts, photos, video, etc.) to back up the allegations. Try to avoid tangential details that can clog up your story or make it confusing to understand. If there's a reason that your story has the potential to impact other people, tell us.
3. Be persistent, but patient. At any given time, my investigative producer/photographer and I are working on eight to 10 in-depth stories in addition to fielding new tips. We may not respond to you in the same day, but that doesn't mean we aren't interested. If you're serious about your story, we welcome follow-up emails or phone calls to ensure that we received your tip or that you have new information. If you have a big story, your persistence will pay off and ultimately, that benefits everyone!