WT Business Beat

By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Readers offer fresh source for news tips

For a reporter, there are really only two measures of success – the stories you catch and the stories you miss.

One of the stories we’ve been catching – at least so far -- is about the protests involving the Transportation Security Administration’s Information Technology Infrastructure Program (ITIP).

The contract is under protest, and the latest is that TSA is telling protesters Unisys and General Dynamics that they filed their complaints with the wrong agency.

I wish I could say we’ve been one of the first, if not the first, news outlet to have these stories because of old fashioned reporting skills. But I can’t. It wasn’t even dumb luck.

No, the reason we’ve been at the leading edge of coverage on this topic is because of you, dear readers. Specifically, it is two readers. In short, we were tipped off through the comment feature for our stories on our Web page.

When the ITIP contract was awarded to Computer Sciences Corp., I knew there was a good possibility that it would be protested, so in that first week or so, I put out feelers and asked people to call me if they heard anything. Of course, they didn’t and I got busy and didn’t give it too much thought.

We published an unrelated story about Unisys that included a comment about ITIP and how their growth as a company wasn’t tied to any single contract. That story elicited a comment from an anonymous reader, who said if the contract wasn’t that important, why are they protesting?

That got our attention and a few calls later, we were out with a story about the protests being filed.

After that news story, I wrote a couple of blogs posts about the increasing number of protests and late Friday another anonymous comment came in, expressing dismay that TSA had restarted the CSC contract.

Again, we started making calls and published a story yesterday.

An interesting is that these commenters weren’t trying to pass on a news tip. They were just adding their voice to the discussion.

The lesson here is that we need our readers. You have great knowledge and insights about the market, and I want to encourage you to share those with us, through letters to the editor, comments on stories, or just e-mails to me.

News tips are great, but so are comments on trends in the market, additional information about a topic or a little gossip.

The bottom line is to feel free to share what’s on your mind.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Nov 17, 2009 at 9:53 AM

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