ALESTLE VIEW: Don’t be afraid to talk to journalists

As a student newspaper, we at The Alestle have multiple jobs to accomplish, but none of that is possible without the cooperation of the SIUE community being readily available and willing to talk with us.

Our main job is to let the SIUE community know what is happening around campus for sports, clubs, programs and so much more. When we reach out to you, we believe that you can either give us information or lead us to someone else who can give us information. We are not fishing around or speaking to you for the fun of it, but are doing a job that requires your support to engage our audience.

During the pandemic it has been even more difficult to reach people if they aren’t checking their emails regularly or aren’t answering phone calls. As we are on a strict production schedule, it is hard to make time to set up an interview if the person we are contacting doesn’t respond for a couple days. We understand that many of the people we are contacting have busy schedules as well and they don’t always have time to respond to emails or answer phone calls. These issues can be communicated with us and we are happy to work around your schedule.

Part of being a reporter is building relationships with people in different departments, sports, buildings and other learning environments to see what is going on and relaying that information to the public. We understand that speaking with someone you have talked with before is often more comfortable, so we have certain staff members covering those areas exclusively to create those relationships. But since we have many staff coming and going since they are graduating and some of the staff members involved with other campus organizations, we cannot always have the same person cover that area. So don’t be confused if another person reaches out to you about your organization, sport or area of expertise. 

As part of the process, we ask reporters to record interviews for accuracy, after permission from the person being interviewed, when we quote sources in our articles. We understand it may be a little odd when we ask to record conversations, but those recordings stay within The Alestle staff. 

Many sources have asked in the past if they can view the article before it is published. The Alestle has strict policies on prior review which no one outside of the staff can review articles before publishing. What we can do is set up a time with sources to read their quotes to them. This is often misconstrued as a time where revisions can be made, but that is not the case. Since we have recorded the original interview, reporters can go back and listen to make sure quotes are written correctly.

Our newspaper has been publishing since 1960,  so our policies may change overtime but the struggles still remain — retaining trust with our community. In the meantime, we will continue to contact you and try to make relationships with people from different areas to cover them sufficiently.

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