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Investigative Reporters: Will work for tips

If you have a tip that needs investigating, email us at tips@ctpublic.org or submit your tip through our secure form at https://www.ctpublic.org/news/tips.

For investigative reporters, tips from our audience are our lifelines. They help us dig up stories and point us in the right direction when we are tracking down a story. That’s why when we launched The Accountability Project, one of our first orders of business was to establish a tip line.

We get dozens of tips into our inbox at tips@ctpublic.org or through our form at: https://www.ctpublic.org/news/tips. Some of them are community events, others are reminders to keep us in the loop and sometimes there are great tips that lead to even better stories.

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Take for example a tip that we received a few months ago about a teacher who was fired from her job for magnifying stereotypes and using the n-word in class. The tipster, whose identity we still do not know, was outraged that the teacher was going to be reinstated and would received back pay after winning her job back. We, of course, don’t take sides but we did find the story intriguing.

We were able to track down court records and interview subjects because the tipster pointed us in the right direction. That tip led to this story: A CT teacher was fired for using the N-word & stereotypes in class. Now, she’s getting her job back. Other tips have led to stories like these: Connecticut marshals under scrutiny for allegedly charging excessive fees & ISAAC charter school’s probationary period extended as investigations into school mount

So, what makes a good tip? A great news tip should thoroughly explain the issue and a possible solution. A good tip always includes some type of evidence or documentation. Tips that are specific and lay out the issue at hand will help a reporter determine if they should pursue the tip.

Confidentiality is, of course, key when dealing with tips. Oftentimes, tipsters fear they will be exposed but journalists don’t typically reveal who their sources are. In fact, there are laws to protect journalists from being forced to reveal their sources. Additionally, a reporter may want to speak or meet with the tipster to determine if they are legit—that doesn’t mean you’ll be included in the story—it’s just a way for us to verify who we are speaking with. If a tipster doesn’t want to go on record, pointing a reporter to someone who would speak on record is a great help.

If you have a tip that needs investigating, email us at tips@ctpublic.org or submit your tip through our secure form at https://www.ctpublic.org/news/tips.