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“The official did not return request for comment.”

“The agency declined to comment for this story.”

“They did not respond to several emails and phone calls requesting comment.

No matter the wording, each of these statements means the same thing: we don’t want to publicly answer questions.

Lately — whether it’s an investigative, nonprofit newsroom like us, an international outlet like the New York Times, or newer media like Politico or BuzzFeed — when journalists call, officials are choosing to comment less for stories on the record.

Media Relations Specialist William Gray and Engagement Editor Sarah Whitmire wanted to shine a light on just how often this happens and decided a new blog was the perfect platform.

Welcome to Couldn’t be reached.

It will focus on the institutions and people in power — both private and public — who refuse to comment on the record on stories in the public interest. It will be nonpartisan and apply the same high standards to its postings at the Center applies to its investigative reporting.

On Twitter, we’re launching with our own handle @DidNotComment and using the hashtag #nocommentclub.

For newsrooms and journalists, that will be the best way to share your story. You’re already tweeting about what you’re writing and producing; send us one, too.

For readers, you can tweet us or submit directly on the blog.

We welcome your comments and submissions.

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Our newsroom needs to raise $121,000 by end of the year so we can hold the power accountable and strengthen our democracy in 2024. Public Integrity doesn’t have paywalls and doesn’t accept advertising. We depend on individuals like you to sustain quality journalism.