Why Americans Are Afraid to Talk to Reporters

They Fear Backlash From Their Neighbors, and Are Wary the Media Will Exploit Them

It’s been a landmark year for ordinary citizens in the news. Without the hurricane survivors, student protestors, mass shooting victims, and sexual abuse survivors who agreed to speak to reporters, our understanding of some of the most important issues of the day would be murky at best.

By giving first-hand accounts of what happened on the ground—or on the casting couch—before reporters arrived at the scene, citizen sources perform an important public service. But behind every citizen we see in the news is another story—about their interaction with journalists and …

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Act Like a War Correspondent, Think Like a Detective, and Dream Like a Poet

In early 2007 I lost a plane ticket that I had purchased to travel to Africa. My plan was to arrive in Nairobi and stay two months, since the World …