In an age of immediate access and media
saturation, it’s tough for hard-working journalists out there to have a
scoop 10 other journalists don’t have.
Under every journalist’s pillow is the dream of landing
that story or interview no one else has. It’s the desire of having journalists and newspaper
following their leads, sourcing them in stories, earning co-workers’ envy and
getting the much deserved newsroom booty-call. They don’t happen often but when
they do, they are just sweet. They can take a journalist from the mundane daily
reporting to the head of the pack and that is why journalists like exclusives. To get an exclusive, a journalist might have to make dozens of calls to a source, rummage through stacks of public documents or be the lucky schmuck who picks up the phone to a hot tip.
But with budget cuts and newspapers skimming down to
two reporters in the newsroom – one to listen to the scanner for blood and guts
and the other to cover the city hall, school board, county supervisors, ag
board and the tri-county chili cook off – there is little time for
journalists to dig for scoops. Back in the good old days, a journalist got to enjoy an exclusive until the next day when is rivals caught up but given today’s instantaneous news cycles, a journalist’s exclusive is over before the ink dries.
But be it a with a cheating presidential candidate, a corporate whistleblower, a cheating golfer, a rouge lawmaker or a cheating movie star, journalists
are willing to sacrifice limbs, relationships and soul to land an exclusive. In
landing an exclusive, a journalist can expect to see his or her byline not in
the back of the B section, next to advertisement for gold coins, but on A1
above the fold baby – the promised land.
At least until the next day’s paper.