This might seem like an old Catholic-school boy, but I also show up with a shirt and tie. Basically, they don’t know me from jack, and I’m going into their homes, their places of worship, their hospital rooms. A shirt and tie convey respect. It’s very basic stuff. It also conveys authority: I’m someone you should talk to. I mean, it’s not something I grew up doing. Hell, I was a rock critic for a number of years with a ripped t-shirt and a leather jacket. But this is a remarkably different game.
And dress shoes. Always wear dress shoes. People look at your shoes. Dress shoes say you’re important. They say you’re official. They say you’re employed. People respond to that. I’m nobody special; I just happened to be the dude in the shirt and tie. I’m always looking at these cats that show up looking like second-string Hunter S. Thompsons. People don’t respect them. Detectives don’t want to talk to them.
Kerry Burke, NY Daily News’ crime reporter, on how he gets witnesses and detectives to talk to him.
(Thanks to Rob for the tip!)