I was accused of not believing in the freedom of information by an upset caller today.  I wasn’t surprised by his outburst because he started off the conversation very abrasive.  This was a new accusation though.  I’ve been called many things over the phone while on the news desk, but my belief in freedom of information has never been questioned before today.


Me: CBS4 News this is Misty


Caller:  Yes, I’d like to know why I can’t find the phone numbers of all the stations in Denver.  You need to give me channel seven’s number.  The numbers are no longer listed in the TV Guide like they used to be and I don’t understand that so I’ve called you.  You need to give me channel seven’s number.  Don’t you tell me you don’t have their number I know you guys all share news and talk with each other.


In my head; “What? I NEED to give you another station’s phone number?  I am not a phone book and I don’t appreciate being treated so horribly.”


Me:  Sir, I don’t have a phone number for channel 7.


Caller:  What?  Don’t lie to me, I know you do. I know you call other stations all the time.  I read that you’re now sharing video; so you have to have their number!


Me:  Sir, yes, I have a number to a manager at the station, but that’s not a number I’m going to give out.  I don’t have a general number I can give you.


Caller:  You give me that number NOW.  I don’t understand why you won’t give me the number.  You just said you have it.


Me:  No sir, I said I have a number I can’t give out.


Caller:  NO! You’re just not giving it to me.  What about freedom of information?  Aren’t you ashamed that you’re a journalist who doesn’t believe in the freedom of information? You are horri…


Me:  (cutting in) Sir, this has nothing to do with the freedom of information.  I’m hanging up now. CLICK.


I am a nice person.  When I have the time, I will help people look up information, even phone numbers.  I will not help though if I’m yelled or treated badly. 


I work in a newsroom, not a directory service.  When I receive a call asking about a story that has aired I try to answer all questions or point the caller in the right direction for further assistance.  It’s amazing though the amount of calls that I answer that have nothing to do with news.  I’m always asked for phone numbers or for directions (See I am not a map) or for information on random topics. 


I will never understand why people just assume that I have all the answers to all their questions just because I work in a news station.