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Im a whistleblower, and I wanted media coverage of my story. When my initial efforts were unsuccessful, I decided to find out more about how the media operate.
Heres what I learned, drawing on contacts with many journalists and whistleblowers, some of whom are quoted going to the media is vindication that a journalist looked at their claim independently and found it was true.
This requires a huge amount of focus and there are simply not mainstream employers prepared to do that now, except on the rare occasion. Even if a journalist wants to do a story, their editor or producer must approve it.
They will weigh up how much work the story requires, budget, editorial space (a major factor) and what more promising stories the journalist could be working on that better fit the news agenda.
Wendy Bacon says: If you cant find an experienced journalist, look for a highly-motivated final year student or recent graduate who can arrange mentoring through their university.
Universities do some very good investigative journalism, but you need access to experience. The most important skill here is to write efficiently; take that 12 page letter and reduce it to 800 words. The shorter something is, the more people will see and read it.
Andrew Hooley advises Always be impartial, emotionally detached in interviews as emotional comments often come across as this person is obsessed and discredit you.
The media needs to understand criticising the public service is not the same as criticising the government. Andrew Hooley of Victims of CSIRO says Always choose a journalist who has a reputation as an outstanding person in their field as they have far more regard for their reputation and will be more professional in their approach to the story.Crikey does have a dedicated tips section for information that is perhaps not of broad interest but may interest smaller groups These are difficult stories to write. Wendy Bacon warns Some journalists may blame defamation for not doing stories when really the problem is lack of time, too busy, lack of sympathetic editorial environment or lack of will to do the hard word necessary.Eddie Obeid told investigative journalist Kate Mc Clymont: I tell you what, you put one word out of place and I will take you on again. Mostly you can publish something - with some adjustments to get around tricky points.Find other interested parties on Google and copy them on your letters.Wendy Bacon says Whistleblowers need good legal and non-legal community support more than they need journalists.