Category: sourcing

Summer To Do list #5

Are you staying in town for the summer?  Develop51swsz7qdll some sources.

The best time to get to know people is when you DON’T need them for a story on deadline.

Journalists often call people they don’t know on deadline. But know that when you do that, the source might feel a little used. It’s way different when you call someone when you aren’t working on anything in particular and you don’t have a deadline to meet.

Then the person feels important and respected.

Who are good people to get to know? Court clerks, firefighters and fire chiefs, police officers, police desk sergeants and chiefs. People who work in public works at city hall. Mayors, county supervisors, city managers and city councilpeople. The PR folks at the local hospitals and county environmental services. How about a deputy district attorney or the head public defender? The coroner is a great person to get to know.

As a student journalist, you have license to call up anyone any time. The worst that can happen when you ask if you can come in and talk to them is they’ll say no. But chances are, in the summer when things are slow, they’ll invite you in.

It takes just one informal, indepth conversation with someone to turn them into a solid source who will likely return your calls when, in fact, you need to speak to them for a story, on deadline.


Need an expert? Try Profnet

If you are a student working for a news organization, you can sign up for Profnet. That’s a service run by PR Newswire that operates as a sort of Linkedin connecting university, corporate and government experts across the country to journalists working on stories that needs their expertise. If you sign up as a journalist on Profnet, which is free, you can then post inquiries for types on info needed. Then Profnet sends out the request and experts who are interested in speaking to you about the story contact you. It can be so effective in getting you a source you might otherwise never find, that some reporters feel that they are cheating by using it.