Information is everywhere. It's almost a total overload. With the advent of the internet I now get more than 200 emails a day and, after I junk the spam or the irrelevant shit, I still end up with dozens of potential 'stories'.
In reality very few emails are trouser tightening exclusives. Most are PR bull shit; others charity I've-climbed-a-mountain-shaved-my-head-presented-a-cheque-bathed-in-beans kind of nonsense you have seen a million times before; the rest crazies with baffling tales of council/police/hospital corruption.
Press releases should go in the bin without exception (let them pay for an ad if it's that important).
So where do we get our stories from?
We have to remember the basics. The more people you know, the more stories you know (or can stand up).
By relying on whatever comes through the door (or inbox) to fill your paper you are doing your readers a disservice.
You should be out in your communities finding out what real people are thinking, what is happening on the streets.
It is too easy to think you are writing a paper for the people by churning out endless police, council or heath authority releases which look like real stories.
If you really had your fingers on the pulse these releases should become a healthy string of nibs on page 8 rather than the page leads they often are.
And before you blame your workload or the fact you don't get out of your office, think about the reason why.
Could it be that you are too busy writing up the chod to go out and get the real stories?