Some of you had a problem with my post about WFOR teaming up with ’60 Minutes’ for the Medicare investigation saying that it wasn’t a big deal because all WFOR did was CBS’ dirty work.
Yesterday Al Tompkins from PoynterOnline posted an email interview with WFOR reporter Stephen Stock about what they found during the investigation and also asked him how the WFOR team came to be involved with it.
At the Investigative Reporters and Editors convention in Baltimore last June, investigative producer Ira Rosen, who works at “60 Minutes,” asked if I would be interested. A few months earlier, Jay Weaver at The Miami Herald had just done a great series on Medicare fraud and I was eager to advance the story or shed further light on it.
When “60 Minutes” came to town, we met with them and shared various ideas and resources. They shot their own interviews and B-roll, but asked us to commit resources to undercover visits to clinics, DMEs and providores.
Working with “60 Minutes” was a challenge. They have their own culture and expectations and they don’t share easily. Their long, successful history doesn’t contain many cooperative projects with local TV news operations. However, they did enable us to meet FBI sources we wouldn’t have found without them. We met and were able to work with the FBI informant, which wouldn’t have happened without them. They opened doors and gave insight and ideas that enabled us to be successful. And we contributed by successfully getting undercover video of an office worker offering money both for a list and to a “patient” to use her Medicare number. “60 Minutes” chose not to use the video and framed the story otherwise, but we contributed nonetheless.
Check out the whole interview here