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Shapira to Source: ‘Wait! Please Don’t Hang up, Please Don’t Hang up, You Still There?’

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WaPo’s “Story Lab” was a lesson in persistence today from reporter Ian Shapira.

The story he was working on was emotionally tricky; he had to find just the right methods to get the story. Who among us hasn’t begged into the phone, Please don’t hang up!?

Shapira first reached out on Facebook to the recent Pentagon shooter Patrick Bedell’s youngest brother, Jeffrey, former deputy attorney general for California and now a financial adviser in Sacramento:

Hi Jeffrey,
My name is Ian Shapira and I’m a staff writer at The Washington Post. I am now out in California and I am pulling together a piece about Patrick… I know this is a painful time but capturing your brother’s character most accurately is my central aim. I was hoping to talk with you by phone or meet up in person if possible today. There will be countless stories about your brother, all focused on the negative. My piece aims to take a fuller, more biographical approach, nuanced and factually accurate… Please call when you can or write back letting me know what you think and how best to proceed.
Again, I am sorry for your loss.
Best regards,
Ian Shapira
Washington Post

When that failed, Shapira called Jeffrey on the telephone. Click. Jeffrey immediately hung up, prompting the headline of this post.

Shapira did land his interview with Jeffrey.
Read the full post here to find out how.

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