Kelli Arena and John Miller

Kelli Arena and John Miller

Inside Media: Crime Reporting

June 22, 2008

Guests: Kelli Arena and John Miller

Reporting on an FBI investigation requires a "healthy give-and-take" between the press and the bureau, said Kelli Arena, Justice Department correspondent for CNN.

Arena and John Miller, the FBI’s assistant director for public affairs, described that working relationship as one of "mutual respect."

"The press is not here to tip off the fugitive. Our job is to bring information to the public that they need to have," said Arena, who also covered the D.C. sniper story in 2002.

Miller, formerly a correspondent for ABC News, called the public information officer’s position as "the bridge between reporters and where the information lies."

Finding the right balance between protecting an investigation and giving the press the information they need sometimes presents dilemmas.

"You’re operating in a bit of a minefield," he said. "It’s a tough place to be."

Arena explained that reporters can keep friendly relationships with people they report on — to a point.

"Does this mean that I won’t do a critical story, or that I won’t report on something that will make them uncomfortable, perhaps angry with me? Of course not," she said.

"I can assert she’s telling the accurate facts here," Miller quipped.

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