A Pulitzer Prize Winner on Getting Sources to Talk

What’s your secret to getting reluctant sources to talk?

I try to persuade people that the public has a right to know. I try to appeal to their loftier instincts. I tell them, “This story is going to come out. You’re going to be affected by this story. You need to talk to me. You have to talk to me. You don’t want other people who are critical of you to be quoted and for you to say ‘No comment.’ ‘No comment’ is never a good answer.”

—From an interview in Quill, the magazine of the Society of Professional Journalists, with Walter “Robby” Robinson, editor of the Boston Globe Spotlight team that won a Pulitzer Prize for its stories about abuses in the Catholic church.

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