Lou witnesses an accident with a motorcycle. By coincidence the company that produces this type of motorcycle pulls all its advertising from The Tribune. Lou smells a story and sends Rossi out to investigate. From the advertising agency Rossi learns that the product was impossible to sell because it was simply bad. A motorcycle mechanic agrees: the Roughrider 90 is a food processor with wheels.
There's a new face at the paper: David Marcus, editor for national news. Although quite popular with the other editors, he seems to annoy Charlie. Billie tries to interview Frank Talbot, a politician sent to prison for bribery, who will be released that day. He succeeds in eluding the press at every turn.
Rossi can't get any source within the Roughrider Company and asks Lou for help. Lou gives him some telephone numbers and after being sent back and forth by several people, Rossi gets a source. The trouble is that the man, Kramer, will only speak to Lou. Lou meets him outside the company and Kramer tells all. The company knew there was a problem with the brakes of the Roughrider 90, but thought it more economical to pay off the occassional lawsuit rather than invest money in a product recall. Kramer will give the Trib confidential memos if it pays him 4,000 dollars.
Lou asks Mrs Pynchon for the money but she refuses to get into checkbook journalism. A desperate Rossi loans the 4,000 dollars to get Kramer's memos. When he receives them (actually photocopies of the originals) Rossi presumes he has a scoop that he can sell around the country. Lou and Billie discover the story on the telex before Rossi has even started writing it. Kramer sold the story to a television station too.
Mary from the accounts department comes to Charlie's office to warn him that David Marcus is defrauding the paper by filing false expenses. Charlie promptly fires Marcus, but promises him that he won't tell everyone why. The other editors are surprised by the editor's dismissal and some even suggest that Charlie felt threatened by the talented Marcus.
Meanwhile the elusive Frank Talbot is sighted in the Tribune building. It soon becomes clear why: Talbot has written his memoirs and they will be serialized in The Tribune. Today he announces this at a press conference. Lou complains to Mrs Pynchon that Talbot has always refused to talk to the press and now he gets 70,000 dollars for telling his story. Isn't this checkbook journalism? Mrs Pynchon realizes she has made a mistake, but nothing can be done about it.
The Roughrider Company wants to react to the stories in the news. At a press conference the designers of the bike, including Kramer, explain that there is nothing wrong with it. The head of the company notices Rossi at the conference and takes him aside. He wants to know who Rossi's source was; he has his suspicions but can't be sure. Rossi refuses to give a name.
The accounts department has a new form for expenses and Mary shows them to Lou. Lou can't see the point of it all, but Mary mentions that someone was recently fired for falsifying expenses. Lou now knows why Charlie got rid of Marcus, but can't understand why Charlie didn't give the true reason. Charlie explains that the dilemma was typical for the decisions editors-in-charge have to make.
An anxious Kramer calls Rossi, afraid that Rossi might have given his name to the head of Roughrider. Rossi assures him that he will never betray a source, even if he can't stand him.
Rossi is left behind with serious debts. The other reporters invite him over for dinner.