Times Insider: “What techniques did you use to get reluctant people to talk?”

From a Times Insider column in which Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor talked about doing the Harvey Weinstein stories that won a 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service:

How do you two work together? You didn’t really know each other well before.

KANTOR We didn’t. Very early on we just had an ability to trust each other. Part of what you’re doing when you’re reporting a story like this is that you’re trying to be strong for everybody else. You want to be strong for your sources. You want to be strong in dealing with Harvey Weinstein. The partnership is a place to gather strength, but also to be a little vulnerable. We can really talk to each other in a very honest way.

Can you share some of the techniques you used to get reluctant people to talk?

KANTOR You do it by being slow and patient. We went to see people in person whenever possible. We had repeated conversations; we tried to make it clear to the victims that we weren’t just using them. A reporter-source relationship is not a friendship. We tried to be transparent. And we could sometimes have answers for people. People would say, “Well what if nobody believes me?” We could say: “Well, at The Times, we corroborate these stories. We look for other forms of evidence.”

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