How Reuters reporter Dastin scored his Amazon exclusive
Reuters tech reporter Jeffrey Dastin talked about how he obtained his exclusive report that Amazon.com Inc. had rolled out machines to automate a job held by thousands of its workers: boxing up customer orders.
Here is an excerpt:
Q: How did you score this exclusive?
A: Good stories are often unexpected. I was asking a source detailed questions about Amazon’s interest in robotic hands for grasping customer orders, when the person stopped me and said, ‘That’s not the real story here.’ I asked what was. The source explained that the technology I had focused my attention on was too experimental for Amazon to roll out widely, unlike, say, box-packing machines. That gave me a news tip to pursue.
Q: What types of reporting were involved?
A: I looked for anyone who could elaborate on the news tip. I went to events where I could introduce myself to sources. Lots of digging and luck eventually led me to the right people. I then had to earn their trust over time to ensure Reuters got the full, factual story.
Q: What was the hardest part of the reporting?
A: Learning how many roles the machines would replace was not an easy number to uncover.
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