Sandra Ruttan interviewed Rick Mofina for the Fall 2007 issue of Spinetingler Magazine.
Here is one exchange from their rich and wide-ranging interview:
Sandra: I’m just wondering, because you’re writing what mainly gets classified as thrillers, do you think the reporter has a certain advantage over the cop in the sense that with the reporter there always is a constant deadline for the next issue to produce something, whereas with a cop if you get something at twelve or if you get something at one it doesn’t matter quite as much.Read the full interview.
Rick: They’re definitely different worlds and I’ll tell you what cops told me when I was on the beat. They said, “You have a great freedom.” I said, “What do you mean?”. “If I’m a city police officer or I’m a federal police officer and I’m pursuing my case and I decide I need this or this in another jurisdiction, the further away it is the more complicated it gets for me to pursue my information, where you as a reporter can say, “Hey, I think this guy in Bagdad knows something, I’ll pick up the phone and call him,” and you can do that, you’re expected to do that. You don’t have to answer to anybody for doing that.”
There is a freedom that way, and there’s also, detectives would tell me, “You run something and you truly believe it’s true and your organization believes it’s true and the next day you find out it’s not, you run a correction, oops. Yeah, you may face a lawsuit, depending on what the error is. When we’re building our case, we’ve got to make sure it’s right all the way along because it could be pulled out on us in court and it could affect the prosecution side of things, so we have to build a very very solid house.”
We were more like gypsies, and to them, from their view, journalists didn’t have as much accountability. I would turn it on them and say, “Look, okay, I can call up people from around the world at any time and they can curse at me and hang up. But you can get a subpoena and you can get a court order and you can flash your badge and people are kinda, in a way, more inclined to have to talk to you, and you say, “I want to get that unlisted phone number” and you can get it.”
So we would joust that way, in terms of pursuit of information.
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My Book, The Movie: A Perfect Grave.