Meet John Doe: Keep investigative journalism alive — send us your leads

By Paul Gorski

This article is in response to online comments posted in reply to: “Goodbye, local daily paper?” by Dan Sears in the Aug. 14-20 issue, specifically comments from reader “Tim Mcgrew” lamenting the loss of investigative journalism. The article is online at:

Good journalism costs money, with revenue coming from subscriptions or from advertising. So, it is critical to support the advertisers that support your newspaper. Let advertisers know you saw their ads in The Rock River Times.

You can also help by sending the media news tips, leads. Even in the old days, some of the best stories started from leads from the public. If you have information about an important news story, share it with TRRT staff or other news sources. Call TRRT at (815) 964-9767 or e-mail the paper at

I won’t promise this paper or other media outlets will jump on all leads sent to them, as some leads are just gossip, without any facts supporting them. Focus on facts: names, places, numbers and supporting documentation, when possible.

I get calls regarding “important” political news. I sometimes find the “news” is an exaggerated second- or third-hand account of a rather dull story. That said, let a news outlet know if you feel you have a solid lead. There may be something to report. Other than providing the lead, you need not get involved.

If you have all the facts on a story, write the story yourself and send it to this paper. It may be printed as news, but it will most likely be printed as a guest commentary. You’re still getting the word out, either way.

Photos and commentary from reader Terry Dodge: “Guest Column: Kilbuck Creek used to run clear — not chocolate brown or bluish gray,” Oct. 19-25, 2011, issue (online at helped bring attention to pollution now being challenged by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

Newspapers have changed over the years, but some papers still want to print real news. Today’s technology allows readers to not only read news from a variety of sources, but also contribute news content. Help keep investigative journalism alive by calling in or sending your leads, comments and suggestions.

Paul Gorski ( is a Cherry Valley Township resident who also authors the Tech-Friendly column seen in this newspaper.

From the Sept. 4-10, 2013, issue

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