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The people, places and organizations that supply journalists with ideas and general information (and often quotes) for potential news stories and features are known as sources, some of which may be routine points of contact, while others may be one-offs. The names and contact details of sources, examples of which might be the emergency services and council departments, are kept in a contacts book, paper or electronic versions (Harcup, 2004: 44–6). Cuttings, archival material, broadcast recordings and a variety of documents and websites found on the Internet can also be useful sources of information. On occasions, journalists pay sources for information, a process known as chequebook journalism though the practice is potentially corrupting (Sanders, 2003: 115–17), raising issues of ethics.

A reporter needs to build up ...

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