April 14, 2006

BREAKING NEWS: Good Friday

On April 11, I did what most editors in chief never get to do – I stopped the presses.

My 13-month investigation concerning allegations of sexual harassment against my college’s president by a female employee came to a head.

The college’s Board of Trustees met twice in six days in closed-door sessions. While the local media started digging, I accommodated each new twist. However, knowing other media may break the story, I stopped the presses asking the staff to use the next 24 hours to ensure our story package would be superior.

“They might scoop us, but they can’t tell the story -- we can,” I thought. “I have the sources, the documents, and the best support team allowing me to frame the story -- not just report it.”
I’ve learned so much about investigative reporting from this enterprise – things they don’t teach in a classroom. I promise to break down my process into steps soon. Perhaps my insight will help other student journalists.

Now, I’m learning how to manage the aftermath of having scooped every media organization in the city. Reporters want me as their source. They want my year-long research and access to my sources. Most importantly, I'm trying to learn how not to become the story.

That last one is the hardest because I still have to report the result of these allegations, attend class, work my other job, and manage with my freelance responsibilities.

This was indeed, a good Friday.

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