OLD Media Moves

The strategy behind the NY Times’ Pulitzer winner

April 26, 2018

Posted by Chris Roush

Emily Steel. Credit: Sharon Suh
Emily Steel. Credit: Sharon Suh

Peter Kafka of Recode spoke with New York Times media reporter Emily Steel about how she and fellow reporter Michael Schmidt went about the process of reporting stories that led to the firing of Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly and helped win a Pulitzer Prize.

Eric Johnson of Recode writes, “On the new podcast, Steel explained how she and Schmidt strategized before every phone call during their months of reporting on O’Reilly. They discussed who should make the call and exactly what to ask, to have the best chances of getting the true story.

“‘Before I called most people, I would look at their Instagram, look at what videos they’d been on, just get a sense of who they are and what motivation there might be to talk to us,’ she said. ‘Reporting on Fox News is very, very difficult and a lot of people in that world really didn’t want to talk to me, or couldn’t talk to me, or feared talking to me.’

“And she still remembers exactly what she would say when she’d cold-call someone for the first time. It was not ‘I want to know if Bill O’Reilly harassed you.’

“‘‘Hi, my name is Emily Steel, I’m a reporter at the New York Times,’’ Steel would say. “’I’m looking into the experiences of women at Fox News and would really love to talk to you. I can understand why you might be hesitant to talk to a reporter, but give me a call and I can explain more about what I’m working on.’'”

Read more here.

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