As a freelancer or even a staff writer, finding sources for stories can be a difficult task. Whether you’re looking for an expert on a specific topic or just someone to speak about their experiences, it can be hard to find credible and representative voices for your piece.
Fortunately, finding sources is now easier than ever. With resources like Twitter’s #JournoRequest hashtag, finding the ideal source for your story can be as simple as sending out a tweet.
Individuals typically tweet a specific call for experts or for people with a certain experience. A #JournoRequest might include your deadline, the publication, and how to contact you. It also lets accounts like PR & Journo Requests, Editorielle, and Press Plugs know you need a little help finding sources.
Here are some tricks for using #JournoRequest to find sources.
Let the sources come to you
When you’re in the beginning stages of reporting, #JournoRequest allows potential sources to find you, decide whether they’d like to speak on the topic you’re covering, and reach out themselves.
It’s possible to use Twitter to browse for sources through social listening — or seeing how people are interacting online. For example, if you’re reporting on reactions to a celebrity pregnancy announcement, you can find posts related to that topic and reach out. #JournoRequest is an excellent tool for when you aren’t sure who those sources are or how to reach them.
Freelance journalist Grant Stoner frequently casts out on Twitter in search of sources for stories about the disabled community. “Because disabled people use social media for a lot of social interaction, I rarely struggle to find diverse voices,” he said. “I just pose a question and see who replies.”
Stoner has used Twitter and hashtags like #JournoRequest to source stories for the Washington Post, Wired, Can I Play That, IGN and Fanbyte. “It’s my preferred method when I want to hear from the public,” he said.
by Zoë Hanna, International Journalists’ Network
Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash