Finding a reporter to follow
This just came in:
I’m having trouble contacting a news reporter in the area. Any ideas of how I should go about finding one that would be available for an interview?
This is part of what reporting is all about, so the process you have to go through to find someone is part of the work of a reporter.
That being said, here are some ideas:
- Check websites of local stations/publications for which reporter is on which beat. I know we always had that at The Christian Science Monitor; in the Contact Us/Feedback page of the About section. Do other news orgs have the same kind of list? Check and see.
- Search for reporter names on the website you’re researching.
- Find a story that grabs you, then check what other stories the reporter has done. For example, in the Globe this morning is a great story on how foreign consulates in Boston/Cambridge are all about hooking into the Boston high-tech community. The story is done by James F. Smith, and I noticed at the end of the story is the name of his blog — boston.com/worldlyboston. You can bet I’m going to check out his blog, because I really like his story. I’m guessing his area of coverage is how the international community intersects with Boston. But I won’t know that for sure until I dig around a little.
- Then, when you find a reporter whose stories you connect with, you find a way to contact him/her — either directly to their email, if you can get it, or send it to the newspaper/magazine/station and ask that it be forwarded to the reporter, whatever you need to do. Write a polite email describing what you’re doing, and why you like his/her work, or are interested in that work and that beat, that topic. Connect on the content front. Don’t do it as a fan letter, do it as a fellow journalist.
- At the end of the email, when you request the in-person interview, assure them it would only need to be for 10-15 minutes, and that you will bring a stopwatch with you to make sure it doesn’t last any longer than that. You can meet them at their place of work, or anywhere convenient for them. (This part is all about handling their fears that they will get caught in a time-suck situation they can’t get out of. So if you assure them you only need a few minutes, and that you have a method (a stopwatch or whatever) for measuring that, plus you are telling them you think their work is good and important, and that you are an aspiring journalist — well, see where that gets you.
- Can others of you share your techniques? Be ready to do so in class tomorrow or comment on the blog. I will repeat this email on the class blog, journ101.wordpress.com.