Every reporter has been there. Trying to find the elusive interview for a story you’ve been assigned. Maybe it’s the wife/husband of a victim of crime. Maybe your own local “deep throat” who can verify facts. Maybe it’s a person accused of a crime. Maybe it’s just a couple of soundbytes from some “people on the street” to give their opinions.
It can be one of the most uncomfortable positions you can ever find yourself in, asking questions of a person who does not want to be bothered.
Wayne Drehs of ESPN.com was given an assignment to interview Steve Bartman. For those who dont’ remember, Bartman is the Cubs fan who reached over the fence and ruined his team’s chances at a World Series 2 years ago. The day after, Bartman issued a press release apologizing, and then disappeared.
Drehs’ article titled “Foul Play: On the trail of the most reclusive man in sports” is a rare look inside the mind of a journalist put in the awkward position of getting the story the story maker does not want to tell.
Drehs tells of how he found Bartman’s home address on Google. How he staked out Bartman’s home and then followed him to work. How he then waited until Bartman left his job and approached him in the parking lot.
“Hey Steve, got a minute?”. It could have turned ugly. But Drehs handled it like a caring, sympathetic person. Drehs doesn’t get the interview but he does get a great story. Well worth the read for anyone, even a non-sports fan.