super famous person just on the cover of NY Times and head of biggest xxxxxx in the world and close friend of elephant’s, on Walk the Talk Show many times

[10/5/15, 6:01:54 PM] Waylon Lewis: …was embroiled in sex scandal. That’s huge. What do we do?

[10/5/15, 6:01:58 PM] Waylon Lewis: what would you do?

[10/5/15, 6:02:16 PM] Waylon Lewis: I mean, this is huge

[10/5/15, 6:02:20 PM] Waylon Lewis: we want traffic, readership

[10/5/15, 6:02:21 PM] Sarah Petrie: Get some facts– go straight to the source tactfully

[10/5/15, 6:02:25 PM] Waylon Lewis: this is central to our coverage

[10/5/15, 6:02:32 PM] Staci Lerch-Moist: Who did you hear it from? Who did they hear it from?

[10/5/15, 6:02:41 PM] Tess Estandarte: Check out the source.

[10/5/15, 6:02:44 PM] Waylon Lewis: but we also care about this person, and his or her community, and the effect this scandal will have

[10/5/15, 6:02:47 PM] Ann Crockett: I would go straight to the source

[10/5/15, 6:02:56 PM] Tammy Novak: I agree

[10/5/15, 6:02:59 PM] Waylon Lewis: I heard it from a source I respect but had little detail

[10/5/15, 6:03:06 PM] Waylon Lewis: and as a blog or online site we’re in a rush to report it first

[10/5/15, 6:03:07 PM] Camerina  Schwartz: Go to the source.

[10/5/15, 6:03:09 PM] Waylon Lewis: so what do you do?

[10/5/15, 6:03:12 PM] Lisa Foreman: Close friend…do the readers need to know?  If not, then no coverage.

[10/5/15, 6:03:15 PM] Sara Kärpänen: You should be able to write about it. With your opinion, story labeled as a column?

[10/5/15, 6:03:22 PM] Elisabeth Mason: Sharing info w/out bias and w/ verification of sources allows people to form their own opinions

[10/5/15, 6:03:26 PM] Pat Steele Nielsen: I would give them the opportunity to tell you their story.

[10/5/15, 6:03:29 PM] Waylon Lewis: the source, if you mean the person accused of impropriety, is not talking

[10/5/15, 6:03:32 PM] Waylon Lewis: silence

[10/5/15, 6:03:34 PM] Caroline Beaton: What readers need to know is subjective

[10/5/15, 6:03:36 PM] Tameca L Coleman: Is that a conflict of interest?

[10/5/15, 6:03:37 PM] Waylon Lewis: they’re battening down the hatches

[10/5/15, 6:03:49 PM] Waylon Lewis: Tameca, in community, everything is conflict of interest

[10/5/15, 6:03:55 PM] Staci Lerch-Moist: FBI van ’em.

[10/5/15, 6:03:55 PM] Waylon Lewis: so only way out is constructive honestly.

[10/5/15, 6:03:57 PM] Waylon Lewis: honesty.

[10/5/15, 6:03:58 PM] Tameca L Coleman: HA! Soooo true.

[10/5/15, 6:04:08 PM] Lee Lomas-Author: write about what you do know

[10/5/15, 6:04:12 PM] Sarah Petrie: Ask him/ her to let u break the story in a “mindful way”


[10/5/15, 6:04:19 PM] Tameca L Coleman: The source didn’t want to accept a chance to explain or speak up for him/herself?

[10/5/15, 6:04:25 PM] Waylon Lewis: Here’s what I did, you want to know? It wasn’t exactly journalism, but it was consistent with ethics and awesome.

[10/5/15, 6:04:27 PM] Michelle Wright: are you allowed to write “allegedly?”

[10/5/15, 6:04:29 PM] Nanvalran: I think you investigate and get others off the record

[10/5/15, 6:04:34 PM] Caroline Beaton: Michelle—yes!!

[10/5/15, 6:04:41 PM] Waylon Lewis: Tameca, hell no. At this point they’re hoping it’s going away, freaking out, calling lawyers

[10/5/15, 6:04:41 PM] Pat Steele Nielsen: Is what’s going on relephant to EJ?

[10/5/15, 6:04:47 PM] Waylon Lewis: Michelle, I love you

[10/5/15, 6:04:50 PM] Tameca L Coleman: Got it.

[10/5/15, 6:04:50 PM] Waylon Lewis: that’s a start

[10/5/15, 6:04:54 PM] Sarah Snedaker: If they are your true friend I wouldn’t publish anything that would make them look bad unless you have proof. Keeping a friend is more important, no?

[10/5/15, 6:05:11 PM] Caroline Beaton: Sarah—it depends on what’s at stake. Remember the truth prevails!

[10/5/15, 6:05:12 PM] Waylon Lewis: but not whole story. You want to know what I did? I was even more ethical than allegedly. Why is allegedly not enough?

[10/5/15, 6:05:20 PM] Caroline Beaton: Tell us!

[10/5/15, 6:05:33 PM] Waylon Lewis: Say I’m accused of rape, and you report that I’m allegedly accused of rape. What happens?

[10/5/15, 6:05:39 PM] Traia Thiel: But journalism isn’t about who your friends are, it’s about seeking the truth in all cases.

[10/5/15, 6:05:41 PM] Lee Lomas-Author: because you didn’t ask if it was okay to write up something

[10/5/15, 6:05:44 PM] Heather Lacy: people think you did it

[10/5/15, 6:05:45 PM] Nanvalran: Slander?

[10/5/15, 6:05:48 PM] Caroline Beaton: Everyone says “he’s a rapist”

[10/5/15, 6:05:50 PM] Waylon Lewis: Traia, already addressed that.

[10/5/15, 6:05:50 PM] Pat Steele Nielsen: Everybody thinks you did it.

[10/5/15, 6:05:54 PM] Waylon Lewis: Caroline, yes.

[10/5/15, 6:05:54 PM] Tameca L Coleman: Allegedly is tentative. . .but it connotes that there is wrongdoing.

[10/5/15, 6:06:01 PM] Tess Estandarte: Ask who else knew or was involved.  Check out discrepancies or purported accounts of what, where, who.  Then talk to my editor (s) on consensus of how to break the story (or not).

[10/5/15, 6:06:16 PM] Waylon Lewis: So, do we do in someone’s reputation and an entire community and their livings (thousands of folks affected who are teachers in said community, students too)

[10/5/15, 6:06:16 PM] Tess Estandarte: *on how

[10/5/15, 6:06:20 PM] Waylon Lewis: because of a hot tip?

[10/5/15, 6:06:25 PM] Michelle Wright: People may want to know your sources or the accuracy of the sources?

[10/5/15, 6:06:26 PM] Tameca L Coleman: No.

[10/5/15, 6:06:27 PM] Waylon Lewis: Read what I’m writing, folks

[10/5/15, 6:06:40 PM] Tameca L Coleman: Not without facts.

[10/5/15, 6:06:42 PM] Heather Lacy: nope

[10/5/15, 6:06:49 PM] Waylon Lewis: but do we give up traffic and let all the ethicsless blogs report it first?

[10/5/15, 6:06:51 PM] Pat Steele Nielsen: What is the motitvation of the person who gave you the tip?

[10/5/15, 6:06:57 PM] Waylon Lewis: because if not us, they will do it

[10/5/15, 6:06:57 PM] Terry Price: High stakes…you’ve got to be sure

[10/5/15, 6:07:00 PM] Lee Lomas-Author: sit back and get the right story

[10/5/15, 6:07:00 PM] Waylon Lewis: so what do we do? Anyone?

[10/5/15, 6:07:26 PM] nonno13: Check out the person who told you?

[10/5/15, 6:07:26 PM] Nanvalran: you print a story about the story

[10/5/15, 6:07:51 PM] Lee Lomas-Author: write a story asking about the pros and cons like you did here

[10/5/15, 6:08:12 PM] Waylon Lewis: Nan…

[10/5/15, 6:08:13 PM] Heather Lacy: write something that outlines the story so far but with an emphasis that nobody is guilty yet

[10/5/15, 6:08:18 PM] Waylon Lewis: do I mention his or her name?

[10/5/15, 6:08:29 PM] Nanvalran: No, you allude

[10/5/15, 6:08:31 PM] Elisabeth Mason: Just say–a Friend

[10/5/15, 6:08:32 PM] Waylon Lewis: Heather, pointless—remember my rape accusation analogy

[10/5/15, 6:08:32 PM] Timeri Tolnay: No.  Just allude to it.

[10/5/15, 6:08:32 PM] Tameca L Coleman: You can’t mention off-record resources names.

[10/5/15, 6:08:36 PM] Lee Lomas-Author: you don’t have to because everyone already knows

[10/5/15, 6:08:38 PM] Waylon Lewis: Elisabeth, hahah?

[10/5/15, 6:08:39 PM] Sara Kärpänen: Whatever you write, don’t judge.

[10/5/15, 6:08:42 PM] Heather Lacy: true

[10/5/15, 6:08:42 PM] Elisabeth Mason: Ha

[10/5/15, 6:08:45 PM] Tameca L Coleman: An off-record resource?

[10/5/15, 6:08:45 PM] Staci Lerch-Moist: If it’s a sex scandal… there’s more than one person involved. Was there any word from the other parties? Police reports?

[10/5/15, 6:08:47 PM] nonno13: Oh I see. Just don’t say who is it actually

[10/5/15, 6:08:54 PM] Camerina  Schwartz: Write the story

[10/5/15, 6:08:56 PM] Pat Steele Nielsen: Why are you interested in writing anything about the story?  For readership?

[10/5/15, 6:09:01 PM] Waylon Lewis: Staci, nice thinking. No. Nothing was illegal or violent or anything.

[10/5/15, 6:09:01 PM] Anna Rogers: No.  Not until you can be sure as close to 100% as possible.

[10/5/15, 6:09:06 PM] Waylon Lewis: Pat, great question.

[10/5/15, 6:09:10 PM] Ann Crockett: Those types of stories always get me. We tend to hold a person in public office to a higher standard than we hold ourselves, but really, everyone has the same issues at home behind closed doors. People screw up, all the time. Hypocrisy. Rumors get perpetuated and become “truth,” when the reality of it is, the common man sometimes engages in much worse, and then points fingers at someone in the limelight so they don’t have to go home and look at themselves in the mirror. I find this all difficult and emotional and I’m still working on sorting it out in my head… There has to be a way to show compassion, but also, hold EVERYONE to the same standard. I know that doesn’t answer the question at hand, just my thoughts…

[10/5/15, 6:09:13 PM] Waylon Lewis: Because ethics are vital to teachers.

[10/5/15, 6:09:17 PM] Timeri Tolnay: I have the same question, Pat.

[10/5/15, 6:09:25 PM] Caroline Beaton: Why are journalists interested in writing anything, Pat?

[10/5/15, 6:09:28 PM] Waylon Lewis: Ann, amen. That would be a great report. But still, do we mention his or her name?

[10/5/15, 6:09:37 PM] Terese Keehan: Write a story citing the allegations. Don’t use person’s name. Use the person’s teachings to remind us how to behave in light of the allegations.

[10/5/15, 6:09:53 PM] Waylon Lewis: Terese, but do I make it clear who it is without saying their name?

[10/5/15, 6:09:54 PM] nonno13: Nope don’t mention. Ask readers to guess

[10/5/15, 6:10:03 PM] Heather Lacy: annie! great point

[10/5/15, 6:10:05 PM] Waylon Lewis: Nonno, too…fun. This is sad and serious stuff.

[10/5/15, 6:10:07 PM] Danica O’Connell OConnell: Could you go straight to the source? Obviously they know the story has been leaked and that things will be published. They can tell their side of the story to you (a friend) and you publish from there.

[10/5/15, 6:10:10 PM] Michelle Wright: include estimated error? Update story as facts unravel?

[10/5/15, 6:10:17 PM] Waylon Lewis: Already went to source, they’re silent.

[10/5/15, 6:10:30 PM] Waylon Lewis: Okay, I’ll just tell everyone how I handled it?

[10/5/15, 6:10:33 PM] Nanvalran: yes

[10/5/15, 6:10:34 PM] Caroline Beaton: (nod)

[10/5/15, 6:10:35 PM] Michelle Wright: Take your chances?

[10/5/15, 6:10:37 PM] Lee Lomas-Author: off the record I have this story to tell

[10/5/15, 6:10:38 PM] Ann Crockett: No, I would not. To me, that’s just joining the rumor mill. Someone else will do it for you, or probably already has.

[10/5/15, 6:10:49 PM] nonno13: Cool, how did you handle?

[10/5/15, 6:10:57 PM] Ann Crockett: How did you handle it?

[10/5/15, 6:10:59 PM] Waylon Lewis: Ann, agree re rumor mill—hate it

[10/5/15, 6:11:02 PM] facebook:adapacaguy_1: Have you asked the person who gave you the tip how they know? Tracked back to that original source? Otherwise you have nothing to write about because you have. no. sources.

[10/5/15, 6:11:03 PM] Waylon Lewis: Okay, shhhh

[10/5/15, 6:11:08 PM] Waylon Lewis: lemme focus and just tell it out

[10/5/15, 6:11:08 PM] Heather Lacy: could you just write something about sex scandal in general and not make it about the person

[10/5/15, 6:11:10 PM] Terese Keehan: I would allude to the general community the person is a part of. People then can search internet or not if they are interested.

[10/5/15, 6:11:12 PM] Caroline Beaton: Pause a moment 🙂

[10/5/15, 6:11:15 PM] Sara Kärpänen: I would probably drop the story by that point. No sources, no facts. How necessary it is for the journal to cover?

[10/5/15, 6:11:17 PM] Caroline Beaton: Ready to hear the end?

[10/5/15, 6:11:18 PM] Tammy Novak: What about a “how do you feel” or “what do you think” about the issue type of story?

[10/5/15, 6:11:30 PM] Waylon Lewis: Sara, nope, it’s important and vital to our readership and community.

[10/5/15, 6:11:31 PM] Sara Kärpänen: Yes, ready to hear!

[10/5/15, 6:11:53 PM] Sara Kärpänen: Why?

[10/5/15, 6:11:56 PM] Waylon Lewis: Ignoring it does not good. Elephant in the room. How do we handle this not only ethically, but mindfully? How do we steward this community through tough times?

[10/5/15, 6:12:23 PM] Anna Rogers: I’d invite the person in question to do a live article or write an interview.

[10/5/15, 6:12:24 PM] Caroline Beaton: (No typing please so he can tell the whole thing!)

[10/5/15, 6:12:31 PM] Caroline Beaton: No more guessing please!

[10/5/15, 6:12:49 PM] Waylon Lewis: Okay! So here’s the deal. Big scandal, allegedly. I get a hot tip. The tip includes info that two other blogs are reporting it within minutes.

[10/5/15, 6:12:55 PM] Waylon Lewis: Shhhhh please.

[10/5/15, 6:13:14 PM] Waylon Lewis: waiting

[10/5/15, 6:13:44 PM] Waylon Lewis: Okay.

[10/5/15, 6:13:49 PM] Waylon Lewis: so, I want the readership

[10/5/15, 6:14:02 PM] Waylon Lewis: but I also, more importantly, want to do this ethically and mindfully

[10/5/15, 6:14:08 PM] Waylon Lewis: I want to handle this in a way I’m proud of

[10/5/15, 6:14:17 PM] Waylon Lewis: that is helpful for said community and larger mindful community generally

[10/5/15, 6:14:29 PM] Waylon Lewis: so. I first message our 100 plus writers at the time and say embargo

[10/5/15, 6:14:31 PM] Waylon Lewis: on this story

[10/5/15, 6:14:37 PM] Waylon Lewis: no one can post on it without my direct permission

[10/5/15, 6:14:51 PM] Waylon Lewis: and I shut down all live stories—at the time many of our writers could direct-publish on elephant.

[10/5/15, 6:15:29 PM] Waylon Lewis: Next, I contact the source. I’m friends with them and their handlers. They respond but are not going on record and hoping it will die which it won’t and are understandably freaked out.

[10/5/15, 6:15:33 PM] Waylon Lewis: they don’t deny anything

[10/5/15, 6:15:37 PM] Waylon Lewis: which is interesting

[10/5/15, 6:16:13 PM] Waylon Lewis: the accusations are scandalous but vague. IE< not violent, not horrible, just scandalous and vague and will destroy his or her career and his or her teachers and students

[10/5/15, 6:16:48 PM] Waylon Lewis: So, I put up a blog that says, basically, we’re not reporting about the thing folks are hearing about until we hear back from the accused or multiple off-record sources.

[10/5/15, 6:16:58 PM] Waylon Lewis: at the time I have one off-record source. Then I get another off-record source.

[10/5/15, 6:17:24 PM] Waylon Lewis: Because this is big, I wait for three off-record sources and some paperwork—I want to see legal stuff about a part of this accusation, which involves business dealing

[10/5/15, 6:17:25 PM] Waylon Lewis: s

[10/5/15, 6:17:56 PM] Waylon Lewis: Then, I share up my first blog about what we’re not reporting and how to handle it and take a deep breath and wish for the best for all. My blog about nothing other than how we’re not reporting it until we have proof is huge.

[10/5/15, 6:18:08 PM] Waylon Lewis: So I get my traffic, without even hinting or any details about what it is.

[10/5/15, 6:18:18 PM] Waylon Lewis: The next day, we have three sources and info and the accused

[10/5/15, 6:18:23 PM] Waylon Lewis: sees how I handled it and trusts me

[10/5/15, 6:18:36 PM] Waylon Lewis: and gives me the first on-record interview, legal paperwork and about 12 other things over next month

[10/5/15, 6:18:47 PM] Waylon Lewis: I get accused by his or her haters of being too polite and nice and supportive

[10/5/15, 6:19:29 PM] Waylon Lewis: I get accused by his or her yesmen of asking questions that are really intense and rude

[10/5/15, 6:20:06 PM] Waylon Lewis: but the middle 90% read elephant every day for months and we come out of it as the only site, at the time, that reported it without invective. That got original news and reporting and info.

[10/5/15, 6:20:10 PM] Waylon Lewis: The End.

[10/5/15, 6:20:20 PM] Caroline Beaton: Awesome

[10/5/15, 6:20:26 PM] Sarah Petrie: (fistbump)

[10/5/15, 6:20:33 PM] Tammy Novak: 🎉

[10/5/15, 6:20:34 PM] Tameca L Coleman: That’s way rad.

[10/5/15, 6:20:34 PM] Waylon Lewis: So you can’t make everyone happy, but you can do your ethical and mindful best and come out of it looking at yourself in the mirror.

[10/5/15, 6:20:47 PM] Waylon Lewis: PS: my reporting on elephant was the source, then, for NY Times and a dozen other paperes.

[10/5/15, 6:20:48 PM] Waylon Lewis: papers.

[10/5/15, 6:20:49 PM] Adam WIlkinson: ethics and morality sometimes can be jumbled

[10/5/15, 6:20:50 PM] Staci Lerch-Moist: Was this John Friend?

[10/5/15, 6:20:54 PM] Caroline Beaton: Ultimately elephant’s readers and the source respected us for it, and we got the best coverage

[10/5/15, 6:20:58 PM] Lee Lomas-Author: ethics at its finest moment, thank you waylon

[10/5/15, 6:21:01 PM] Terese Keehan: Bravo!

[10/5/15, 6:21:18 PM] Tameca L Coleman: Mad respect .

[10/5/15, 6:21:23 PM] Waylon Lewis: Staci:

[10/5/15, 6:21:25 PM] Sara Kärpänen: In the firs story you wrote, what hints did you give about him/her or the event involved? You must have said something to link with the person to grab the attention? How did you title it?

[10/5/15, 6:21:37 PM] Waylon Lewis: you can read all of it.

[10/5/15, 6:21:43 PM] Waylon Lewis: it was…intense

[10/5/15, 6:21:45 PM] nonno13: Leading with suspense, but handled well with tact and responsibility.

[10/5/15, 6:21:53 PM] Waylon Lewis: I was on the phone for 2000 hours with angry freaked out people

[10/5/15, 6:22:02 PM] Elisabeth Mason: Sounds like your initial handling was great. Will go back and read.

[10/5/15, 6:22:06 PM] Waylon Lewis: most of his leading teachers one by one over months announced their resignations on elephant

[10/5/15, 6:22:08 PM] Waylon Lewis: which he hated

[10/5/15, 6:22:16 PM] Waylon Lewis: so we were kinda hated, but respected, by both sides

[10/5/15, 6:22:29 PM] Waylon Lewis: I interviewed Amy Ippoliti, a dozen other leading teachers…Elena Brower

[10/5/15, 6:22:31 PM] nonno13: You should have a media team to handle the enquiries.

[10/5/15, 6:22:32 PM] Waylon Lewis: lalalalal many

[10/5/15, 6:22:47 PM] Waylon Lewis: it was very sensitive so I handled it directly. Plus, we had no staff really at the time 😉