I get tips from all over the country, pretty much every day, I also get lots of questions. I hope to answer some of those here.
If you see a problem or an illegal activity at work, common sense says: Tell the head boss or call the police, but if you work for a city county or the state and the person is your boss or an elected official your options are very limited. That is usually where I and other writers or bloggers are contacted.
I can’t stress this often enough: Never email me or any other agency from your work computer or while using your work internet access. Do not call me from your office phone either. That is the easiest thing for your bosses to trace if they become suspicious of you.
Do not remove documentation or property from your job. I have gotten some great tips but can not print them because if I did the “source” could face criminal charges. If it is a work product that you produced or collaborated on or if it directly involves you or your work, that is a bit different.
People diddling each other on the job who are married to other people is most times an issue for a husband or wife to address, not a public interest story unless they are using county resources, time and monies.
People abusing spouses, children, or others that is news worthy most times because those in a position of power get off scott free and we have to stop that from happening. Keep in mind that the Judges in Snohomish County seal records for their buddies all day long so sometimes I can’t get the records. It doesn’t mean I don’t believe someone, it means that the judiciary is hiding evidence which is a very common practice.
I tell people all the time to blog, to write a story or keep a journal online with every single detail. I use wordpress. I have many wordpress accounts, a few where I keep every single email, every single document, every single picture, and I have them all ready to publish.
The reason why I like wordpress is because you can write the story and then on the right top side where it says the publish time you can set that ahead of time. So just change the publish date and then make sure to hit the brown publish button or it will simply show that you wrote it on that day and no one will ever see it. IE: If anything were to happen to me, every bit of evidence I have would automatically be published 3 days, 7 says, 14 days, 21 days and 30 days if I don’t go back in and manually reset them all
I also suggest this to abused children and battered women. Or even if you just have a run of the mill job it is always good to journal anything that is going on. Just make sure you write the date on what you are writing since the “publish” date will actually be different.
The other option is to publish everything right at that moment but using the “Visibility” button above just set it to private but make sure someone you trust has the password so in case something were to happen to you it could all be published to the public
I also suggest that whatever you write, print, or collect, you immediately save it to the clouds, not just one account but multiple accounts.If you have the luxury of having a server then as soon as you get an email send it there and delete it out of your email
I have had my house broken into and had my files and portable hard drives stolen on several occasions without the dummies stopping to realize that I use them for downloading things off of my clouds to take somewhere for many different purposes but then I shred everything on those files and entirely wipe that whole drive.
Yes the drives I wrote about a few months ago were completely wiped and the paper files were just printed for someone else but it was kind of fun to imagine them trying everything they could do to extract any shred of documentations they could off of it. I kind of figured they deserved it. I’m still pissed about my Itouch because that had all my music on it but I had that on the clouds too so I got it all back.
Most importantly do not embellish any of your statements, most good investigators will research every aspect of your statements and if it found to be dramatized most won’t give it a second glance.
That is not to say that some of the most outlandish stories are not true. I have seen truth in the strangest of stories, I’m working on a particularly disgusting one right now.
In order to gain credibility say only what you know to be true and if you need to add what others have said make sure you differentiate and say who it came from. It is vitally important to remain credible if you want to be taken seriously.
If you are sitting in a corner in a tin foil hat talking about alien anal probes and bigfoot, I’m probably going to recommend a good counselor and move on, as will most writers. I am also a mandated reporter so if I feel you are a danger to yourself or others I may even have to contact authorities, nothing personal but I couldn’t live with myself if I had an opportunity to save or help someone and did nothing.
Now I love a good tip as much as the next writer but I only get about 3 to 5 thousand hits a day, and there are some stories that I will tell people to contact a bigger news agency, not because I don’t want the story but because it needs to get out to a much bigger audience. What I suggest you do is get the emails for all of the biggest news agencies and whatever city, state, county, state or federal agencies this might be relevant to but send it to yourself and blind copy (BCC) in all of these agencies and news outlets because some of the news stations may not want it if they think others may have gotten it first, or some agencies won’t act if they know who you have sent it to so make sure you tell them that multiple people are blind copied into your email, just don’t say who. It’s much harder for them to do damage control when they don’t know who else knows the information.
Another thing that is common is people give me tips when they are directly involved in breaking the law themselves: That is good information for me to have, but if I print it, basically I have just proven you are a criminal as well. In those kinds of cases I always suggest you go to the authorities, not the local police but the heads of some of the Federal Police, and not local Feds either.
The most important thing to understand is that when you take this step and come out as a whistle blower the people you are telling on are going to go into attack mode and do everything they can to discredit you and even as far as charging with crimes you most times are not guilty of. You had better prepare yourself for this, it is the only way they can win and they usually will go to any lengths imaginable. Be prepared to have your entire life’s history dissected year by year as well. It is not an easy road to hold, and it is very lonely at times and sometimes it is you who are punished for speaking out so be prepared for that as well.