Advice for someone with a big story, but no evidence

I have been approached with the following question, which raises such a range of issues, and is so tough to answer, that I thought it best to open it up to you. The person has given permission for me to do this on condition of anonymity. Here’s the question – what would be your response?

Suppose someone, in a vulnerable position, having little resources, knows something very very serious that happened some time ago. He has no evidence at all other than that he was there.

It’s a political scandal of some size. Headline news if true.

The person has to get to the truth of what he thinks he knows. He has very few resources, or friends prepared to believe this, no job contacts he can use, but he does have the internet.

There is considerable danger to him in this being public without evidence.

Given what the internet is good for, and its weaknesses (how easy it is to be discovered, as well as to discover things), how best does he go about finding the truth? Or is this a time to speak to a journalist in person? He can’t afford a private investigator.

Answers via comment or private email please.

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2 thoughts on “Advice for someone with a big story, but no evidence

  1. Bas Timmers

    Extremely difficult issue. If there were other people at the occasion, approach them as a witness. But probably that isn’t the case. I would then firstly approach a blogger that is a specialist in the subject at hand and make the deal to publish together, at the same time, if evidence is found. If this isn’t an option as well, find a journalist of whom you suspect he has the proper contacts to confirm the story.

    Reply
  2. Nick Booth

    If your correspondent is the key witness their starting point could be to write down what they saw (their evidence) and approach a lawyer to set it down as an avidavit.

    That of course does not prevent what they say being libellous – yet it may boost the confidence of any journalist they approach.
    As Bas suggests – if they are the only evidence – their case is may be explosive but based entirely on their credibility versus the credibility of those they accuse.

    Reply

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