How Insider reporter Taylor broke the Brandy Melville story
Insider fellow Phil Rosen spoke to reporter Kate Taylor about her recent investigation into teen clothing brand Brandy Melville.
Here is an excerpt:
Talk about your process for getting sources for this story. How did you go about finding people to trust you?
Finding sources and getting them to trust me was a very long, drawn out process — especially since I didn’t go in with any sources at the company.
I started by creating a spreadsheet and reaching out to dozens of people who worked at Brandy Melville, finding them mostly via LinkedIn and Instagram. (I found a few really good sources by searching on Twitter for former employees.)
I reached out to roughly 200 people for the piece, most of them cold reach outs. The vast majority never responded.
Once I was able to speak with a few former employees, it became much easier to find other people to talk to me. Almost every worker had other people who they thought I should speak with, and so on.
It still involved a lot of follow-ups and chasing people down — so many people were on vacation! — but sourcing snowballed as time went on.
Some employees were really excited to talk about their experiences at Brandy Melville, but it took time to build trust with others. This required numerous conversations, on and off the record, both on the phone and via text or email. In general, I think it’s helpful to keep sources in the loop on how a piece is coming together — what the timeline might look like, what our legal team does, that I will fact check everything before publication, etc.
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