Peter Phipps

Managing Editor for New Media, The Providence Journal

Providence, R.I.

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There was a racetrack – harness track – and it was sort of a major taxpayer in this Ohio town. It was fallen on hard times. And one of the claims was made: People aren’t going – as they don’t think they get a fair shake. That it’s sort of – not quite on the up and up.

So, I went and did the story. And there was this tipster who told us there was this guy who bets after the bell. And I went up and I caught him doing it. We had a photographer on the roof, and I had a phone, and I gave a little message and I showed when the race started and I showed when he bet – because I was watching him bet. He would line up, and then he would watch the TV, and he would know how these horses broke.

So, I had it – it was wonderful – everything about it was wonderful. But I didn’t execute the final part of it. And that was to go up to the guy and sit down with him and say, “Look, this is what I’ve got.” – I was a kid – “this is what I’ve got. What am I to make of this?” And then quiet. Like – ask a real question. And the story suffered because of that.

And that – to me – it would’ve – it would’ve been hard to do that. And, as a kid, I would’ve had to been told to do that – I was, you know, maybe 30, something like that.

An editor had to say – “No, no, no! This was all great, but now sit down and ask him a question: ‘What’s this all about?’”

It would’ve been uncomfortable for me, but then it would’ve been so much better – to hear what he had to say about it. That would’ve been a higher level.

So that’s a case of - I mean it’s a story I’m telling on myself – sort of – but I learned a lot from that.