Finding and keeping sources is vital for journalists, according to ITV Yorkshire's political correspondent Ben Erlam.
Erlam, who studied at Trinity in 2005, said the rise of social media is hard to ignore, but face-to-face conversations are still important in finding stories.
Speaking at Leeds Trinity Journalism Week, he said: “So much of news is broken over Twitter, but Twitter and Facebook are no substitute for a chat with a source.”
Erlam stressed the importance of talking continuously to contacts. “They will keep coming back with bits and pieces,” he said.
Erlam’s first big story was the MPs' expenses scandal, and he has also interviewed Prime Minister David Cameron for Calendar News, asking questions posted by viewers on Facebook.
Asked whether it is hard to get a straight answer from politicians, Erlam said it was “challenging” to cover politics, and he often had to “try to find a way of livening it up”.
He also mentioned the intense media training politicians are given, and said that the real stories come when you can coax a “real answer” from them.
Erlam showed a number of recent award-winning Calendar News stories, including a chilling sequence on Bradford’s “Crossbow Cannibal” and a moving piece from Greece about a mother searching for her missing son.
He then fielded a number of searching questions from the audience around the morality of news stories, press intrusion into grieving families and the impact of specific news agendas on impartial reporting.
“We just reflect what is happening,” Erlam replied. “We have no agenda.”
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