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Resources for Reporting: Expert Sources

More on Journalism

Tips for Finding People

  1. Think of the most likely institution to find people who might know about your topic.
  2. Institutions may include universities, professional associations, special interest groups, government offices, or non-governmental organizations. Use the Encyclopedia of Associations to look up non-profit groups.
  3. Consider your topic from all angles. Sometimes, an expert opinion may come from the man on the street.
  4. For contact information, start with the website of the related organization. Look in social media like LinkedIn, or try the white pages.
  5. Find articles on the same topic in local newspapers and check to see who they use as sources as they may be willing to work as a source again.
  6. Use social media to find local interest groups.

Expert Search Engines

There are sites that create networks of experts specifically for journalists. Always read the terms of use for these kinds of sites.

Evaluating Expert Sources

  • When contacting a researcher or academic, make sure to find their published research. Use Web of Science or Google Scholar.
  • Establish if academic researchers are published in credible journals.
  • Make sure to do background research on non-governmental agencies. Establish who funds them. Some groups can have altruistic names but questionable funding.
  • Look up non-profits' financial information by locating their Form 990 through Guidestar.

Likely Organizations to Find Experts

Academic Universities

  • Look for academic experts through subject-specific databases from the library or through Google Scholar. Find recent articles written about your topic. Google the authors to find contact information through university websites.
  • See if there has been a recent conference on your topic. Conference speakers could be a good source for experts.

Professional Associations

  • Try to find a local chapter of professional organizations.

Government Offices

  • Is there a government official related to your topic?

Non-governmental Agencies and International Contacts