How To Find Expert Sources for Journalists


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What Is One Way To Find Expert Sources For Journalists?

To help journalists find expert sources easily, we asked thought leaders and social media managers this question for their best insights. From calling or emailing an expert to requesting expert quotes from Terkel, there are several creative ways that may help journalists locate dependable expert sources for news and information.

Here Are 11 Ways For Journalists To Find Expert Sources:

  • Call or Email an Expert
  • Use HARO and Similar Sources
  • Try Out Shesource
  • Connect With Expert Sources Through ProfNet
  • Find Experts by Posting in Crowdsourced Forums
  • Sign Up on News Sites
  • Get an Expert Through University Contacts
  • Use Google Scholar
  • Source from Fellow Journalists
  • Utilize Twitter’s Advanced Search Feature
  • Request Expert Quotes From Terkel

Call or Email an Expert

Call me old fashioned, but when I need an expert for an article, I pick up the phone and call various organizations and ask to speak with their CSOs. Many people are happy to take the call since we have evolved toward favoring email.

It is also much more effective than a cold email. I have built a network of security experts by doing this and no longer have to cold call, plus they sometimes call on me to discuss the latest in security, or ask for my opinion on a course of action for their company’s cybersecurity.

Eric Florence, Security Tech

Use HARO and Similar Sources

Both HARO and Terkel are excellent sources for journalists. Journalists go to HARO (Help A Reporter Out) and Terkel and use these services to publish queries for blog posts they are writing. Bloggers go to the services and pitch the journalists.

Those chosen get published and receive benefits from getting chosen. For instance, the resulting link to the journalist’s website boosts SEO, and being quoted by a journalist boosts branding.

Janice Wald, Mostly Blogging

Try Out Shesource

If you are a journalist looking for more female voices for your piece, try using SheSource. This media center focuses on only female and female-identifying voices across a variety of topics. This service allows journalists to sign up for email updates similar to HARO but with SheSource you are able to search via keyword, place, or industry. So there is more of a niche.

Daniel Tejada, Straight Up Growth

Connect With Expert Sources Through ProfNet

ProfNet is a platform that connects journalists with expert sources. Sign up with queries that include details like what you’re looking for, your deadline, and specific organizations, industries, or personnel you’re looking for. You can also register for an “expert alert” newsletter with sources for news-worthy events. ProfNet is great for journalists who need to get connected with expert sources quickly and seamlessly.

Datha Santomieri, Steadily

Find Experts by Posting in Crowdsourced Forums

A journalist may not inherently know the proper expert to contribute to a given story. Certainly, they have a preconceived idea of that expert, but the world is full of diverse opinions and experiences.

Upon posting an initial thought relating to their topic in a crowdsourced forum, it can spark a creative process that may take the article in a completely different (and much improved) direction. At a minimum, it stands to support the more obvious options, but at most could really innovate and enhance an article offering. I think it’s these unique spins on previously tackled concepts that make an article truly worth reading.

Another option is to not limit the respondents. Another critical flaw I see is when journalists specify the exact type of expert they deem appropriate to respond. On any given topic, numerous other areas of expertise come into play, and to strike these out the gate loses the diversity of perspective that makes one’s writing memorable.

Mike Powell, Red Flag Home Inspection, LLC

Sign Up on News Sites

Sign up for online news sites like The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times, and read the articles. You can also follow journalists on Twitter and join the conversation. Ask them questions about their stories, and tell them that you want to write a blog post about their reporting.

When you have the chance to interview an expert, read the questions that other journalists have asked and try to think of new ones. Ask open-ended questions to get the most out of your interview. And make sure that you have a recording device or a notebook to write everything down.

Farhan Advani, BHPH

Get an Expert Through University Contacts

Reach out to a contact at a nearby university, and use that person to connect you to the expert you’re looking for. Universities are a great starting point when looking for expert sources, as many in that community have wide-ranging connections and are aware of which voices carry the most weight in their field.

Even if your contact’s expertise seems completely unrelated to the type of question you’re asking, that doesn’t mean they can’t connect you to the perfect source.

Alex Wang, Ember Fund

Use Google Scholar

Finding helpful sources can be tough and tracking down expert sources isn’t always simple as it seems. Reach out to high-level experts in a particular scientific field using Google Scholar to locate recent academic papers on the subject you are reporting on, and then looking up the authors of those papers as potential sources is a great way to find expert sources.

Robin Roy Krigslund-Hansen, Formula Swiss

Source from Fellow Journalists

Journalists’ fellow journalists are one of the best sources of information and news. This news source is regarded as one of the most trustworthy news sources for journalists. Reporters frequently rely on their colleagues to provide them with trustworthy information.

News or information received in this manner is usually quite dependable because it comes from someone who is similarly well trained, possibly experienced, and, of course, has obtained the information objectively.

Samantha Odo, Precondo

Utilize Twitter’s Advanced Search Feature

One of the most effective ways to find expert sources for journalists is to utilize Twitter’s advanced search functionality. The platform’s intuitive filtering enables journalists seeking an expert comment to quickly identify the most relevant and reliable sources simply by inserting specific keywords, hashtags and accounts.

It also helps them to eliminate any substandard sources in the same way, and this removes the manual work otherwise required when scouting out the best candidates to approach for a quote.

Sofia Tyson, Juro

Request Expert Quotes From Terkel

Terkel’s self-serving platform for publishers is a free tool that journalists can use to request quotes for their articles. Journalists have the power to post questions, select which industry experts they would like to reach, and receive the best quotes compiled neatly into a google doc. Terkel separates the communication between the publisher and the expert so neither has to worry about a flooded inbox or demands from one another.

Other than the benefit of removing external communication between journalists and experts, Terkel verifies that experts are real people with real identities and chooses only the best quotes for journalists’ consideration.

Journalists no longer have to verify their own sources or field through hundreds of pitches – saving them valuable time and energy. Check out What is Terkel “Content”? for an inside look at the publisher experience, or try it out yourself!

Adrian James, Terkel

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