About a week ago, a soldier was killed during an airborne operation on Fort Bragg.
I knew about two hours after the death - one of my best sources called to tell me about it. After that tip, more flooded in to my email and Twitter DM.
I really take pride in the fact that sources know they can trust me with secret information that hasn't been released yet because they know I will be responsible with the information.
I'd heard off the record the soldier who was killed was from the Mexican Army, which was on Fort Bragg training with American paratroopers. Unfortunately, the 82nd Airborne Division clammed up and would only confirm they were investigating an incident (I later learned it's because of all the bureaucratic layers they were dealing with).
A few days after "the incident," the division confirmed a fatality, but that's it.
I immediately went to the country courthouse and searched through death certificates - there it was.
I called the division as a courtesy to explain that I had the soldier's name and other identifiable info from his death certificate and that I was going to write a story for today's paper.
The public affairs officers were quite surprised I was able to get that information so quickly.
From my standpoint as a reporter, it was important to push for this information and advance the story because no one was saying anything and that makes way for rumors to spread. If Army officials won't release information, the next best thing is look for public records that are available.
Again, I was the only reporter in the country to obtain and report that information.
You can read my story here:
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