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Tips on Investigative Journalism From the Most Honored US Journalists-- Barlett and Steele

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storycon.org H2'ed 10/28/12
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Rob Kall: How do you find them?   

 

James Steele:   Random ways.

 

Donald Barlett: There's no single way.   

 

James Steele:   No. We found some peoples' names, we found some names in bankruptcy court claims. People whose health care had been taken away. And a lot of the people, the names for this book, showed up in Labor Department filings. They'd lost their jobs because of imports or various trade issues. It's a very cumbersome process to get those petitions, and they're called "trade adjustment assistance petition'. And we've gotten many of those over the years. That's when other litigation, here and there, shows up beyond. And then one thing helped us this time, because of the collaboration with American University, the workshop down there. When we posted these things online, we urged people to contact us, and we heard from a lot of people that way. People who turned out to be very good interviews in some cases. So it's just like Don said, it's a range of things and it's quite often very hard to find folks. But they're the heart of every one of these stories.

 

Rob Kall: Right last question, and then we've got to wrap up. 'Occupy Wall Street'. Where do you see that figuring into the picture that you've painted?

 

James Steele:   Well, their issues are really a lot of the issues of the book. I mean in terms of the one percent, and you know Don and I actually wrote about the one-percenters back in the mid "90s, before this thing got really popular. So we understand who those folks are. We tend not to go along with the bottom 99, we don't do the one percent versus the 99 percent. We've always talked about the bottom 90 percent. And it's the only reason for that is the folks between 90 percent and 99 percent are still, they're not doing too badly. It's really the bottom 90 percent at this point that we're most worried about. So, I mean it's a slight distinction, that's the reason we make it so. You know, a lot of the issues they've highlighted have been very, very real issues, and it's hard to tell what it has done for the consciousness of the country other than just make people aware of them. And where that we go from here we don't know, but certainly on the concentration of wealth, and what's happening to just average people, we're very, very sympathetic to what they've talked about.   

 

Rob Kall: And what's your website?

 

James Steele:   It's just www.barlettandsteele.com 

Rob Kall: Okay. Thank you so much.

 

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