Shaw never goes a day without thinking if a story is as big or as important as he thinks it is.
They published, and no other media has published. Lawyers, when seeing that people haven't closed a will, know that they probably stole from it.
The only thing they were told that the mayor would respond by calling them liars. The police must respond, and they needed to provide their evidence to the police -- and were scared they would pull up and take all their computers.
It was published, and it did well online -- but nobody: the mayor, media or police reacted until three days later, when the Chronicle Herald published the story as well.
Six days later, the mayor pulls a press conference, one-on-one with reporters, and announced he will not run in the next election. And that was the end of the story. The police did nothing.
Tomlinson has had people have come forward with estate stories, and police always say it's a civil matter.
Bruser says that legal counsel can often be like a good editor, and you should follow their advice.
We are doing some Q&A now
How do you weed out the pretending claims?
Knock on doors, and explain the implications right up front -- if I report on this, you (the source) will be on the front page.
It may drive the source away, but then the source wouldn't be good then anyway.
For Tomlinson, who has to deal with TV, always asks for documentation and if the source will appear on TV. It has the same effect.
Have a conversation with them in writing. Ask sources to get info in email, because companies will tell them what they wouldn't say to media, and then the source can pass it on.
How do you deal with people who won't, ever, appear on camera?
People began to understand that the consequences aren't often that big. And, sometimes, the person who broke the story isn't the one to appear on camera -- they find someone else who can take their place. There's always more people.
Bruser got a call from the Dutch Canadian community that a man stole his and 40 others money. The source made the mistake of calling Shaw -- the 40 agreed to not call the press. Shaw followed up, and found someone other than the original source who was too shaky and nervous.
What about developing sources in the mayor's office?
Bruner says there weren't anyway -- the Star was shut out.
There were one or two people who were off the record, background, more "you aren't wrong" type of sources, and they talked to Bruser's editor.
How do you foster this type of journalism without the resources of the Star or the CBC?
Tomlinson says that any media outlet can put forward the idea that people can come in with stories. It's about creating the relationships with the public to reveal these stories.
As for time, these stories cook. Tomlinson says to work on the story, let it sit, and work on your other daily stories while chipping away at this big one.
Bruser says he wouldn't be able to do the same amount of output now -- he has kids and little free time now.
What to do when you have to say no to a source?
Tomlinson says you will have people angry with you, but you just have to apologize, and make sure they know right up front that you can't always do their story.
Bruser is going back to small resources now.
The Star has publicly launched their new iPad app, and Bruser says that way more than the journalism has to be relevant now.
Are there ways to do the same type of work in smaller bits? To lend itself more to mobile formats?
Shaw says he has saw no resistance to long reads.
Kieran says that many smaller newspapers, radio and TV outlets have sent in smaller series of stories to their foundation.
Bruser says he writes stories that copy editors hate -- long complex puzzles that you can't just chop the bottom off of.
What would you tell yourself when you were a rookie? How do rookies approach sources?
Shaw says editors have to train writers, psych them up to talk to a source. He teaches freelancers how to approach stories on a case-by-case basis.
Shaw often sells the story to freelancers, and once the writer feels ready go for it.
Tomlinson says being a rookie is great. Being on TV can be a detriment -- people feel intimidated.
Sources don't know you're a rookie, says Shaw. They know you are from a paper, and have no idea how the business really works.
Sources will respect you just as much as Peter Mansbridge.
Bruser says that when he was younger, and starting at the Star. When he was chasing scumbags, especially those in power, they would say something like "You seem like a smart guy, let me explain it to you." That's when Shaw knew he had them.
Doesn't happen now that he's aged though.
Responsible communication is the best. Tomlinson goes right up to the line of harassment -- if no one in power, being scrutinized, responds to her, then she puts the story out there and then lets those people respond afterwards.
"If you hit a wall, find another way," says Tomlinson.
How do you handle kickback from people after it's published?
Tomlinson says it starts with the comments not he website. Everyone is a critic.
You are never going to please everybody, says Tomlinson. If everybody is mad, well then you've done your job.
Shaw tried to FOI a police record, with the aid of the woman who's record it was. The police gave it all to her, and she gave it to Shaw.
Bruser doesn't have much experience, but it doesn't work with the Federal government. Success depends on province to province, and the Star develops stories based on FOIs.
You have to be willing to let the story cook, says Tomlinson.FOIs take a while to come in.
The Americans are spoiled with their FOIs, and often it come sin two weeks. Jealous.
And we are out of time. Thanks everyone for tuning in!