10 Years Ago, I Almost Got Someone Fired While Reporting a Story


A young reporter with their first job, I fumbled the biggest responsibility you have: protect your sources.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/9kwq3a/ten-years-ago-i-almost-got-someone-fired-while-reporting-a-story


I read this as if it were a short story. Part of the fact I remember Patrick mentioning the resolution to it at E3 meant I knew it would work out somehow. Each new paragraph had a little tension of “does it get better now?”

My internal thoughts even exclaimed “Patrick, Noooo!” At this bit:

We spoke over the phone several times that evening. I tried to reassure them everything would be fine, that companies threaten to search network traffic all the time, but it doesn’t usually amount to anything. (I was making that up. I had no idea.) This would all blow over.

Still, it’s a cute story and I’m glad it got written out. Though it also made me think “Patrick was news editor at 1UP when he was 22? I’m 22 and am doing nothing!” so thanks for that unnecessary comparison, brain.


The underlying submessage here is treat your sources right, but make sure you have a clear relationship about information like this with your editors. No editor should ever ever be asking for confirmation on something a reporter has gotten on confidence without asking the reporter first.

ETA: I’m getting angry just thinking about this. That editor did Patrick wrong.


I am curious about the apology after so long. I am sure it felt good and right :slight_smile: Do you think it is helpful for the other party to know the ins and outs after they have moved on?
We all have these things that stick with us and we want to be able to say sorry to even a third party. After such time, to be able to do so in person is rare.


Thanks for sharing this story, Patrick. I’ve been following you since the 1UP days and you’ve grown a lot in the past 10 years as a reporter and a person. Keep up the good work.