The Basics of Using Twitter to Find a Source

Journalists who successfully use Twitter to find sources know that doing a quick Twitter search or sending out a tweet into the ether doesn’t always lead to great results.  But if you use good tactics, Twitter can be a valuable research tool.

Here’s how to make your source finding efforts on Twitter more efficient and effective.

Don’t Just Tweet It, Amplify It

  • Don’t just tweet out your source needs once. Most of your followers aren’t going to see a single tweet.  It’s a fine line, but try to tweet several times without crossing into annoying territory (you don’t want to get muted).
  • Try multiple hashtags for different tweets, to broaden your visibility across multiple channels.
  • If you have a strong following, ask your followers to retweet it. Ask other people who have a relevant audience or network to tweet it as well.  Think about other friendly journalists, past sources, industry contacts and friends. Just make sure to return the favor for them later.
  • Enlist the help of Source Sleuth, URGharo, or similar twitter accounts that tweet out journalist requests and have a good following.

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61 Key Quotes from the Leaked New York Times Innovation Report

Buzzfeed obtained a copy of a leaked report written for top executives at the New York Times. The report gives a very detailed description of the challenges facing the the New York Times and print news.

Below we have listed some of the most interesting quotes from the report.

Not only is audience on our website shrinking but our audience on our smartphone apps has dipped, an extremely worrying sign on a growing platform. (Page 1)

We are falling behind in..the art and science of getting our journalism to readers. (Page 1)

The difficulties we face in audience development are symptomatic of our need to become a more nimble, digitally focused newsroom that can thrive in a landscape of constant change (Page 3)

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5 Ways to Find Sources

We were pretty excited to see Jennifer Goforth Gregory mention us in her post about finding sources.  Jennifer has a wonderful blog about content marketing, is a freelance journalist for the Raleigh News & Observer and has  published over 200 stories – including many front of the section stories. She’s been published in MSN Money, FOX Business,, multiple high-profile blogs and 50 different regional magazines. While she’s super smart and very busy, she still manages to be a super nice person.

And now to the bragging part. Our favorite quote in her post is:

With HARO and Profnet, you put out a call for experts and the receive replies back from people who are interested in being sources. I actually prefer a service called Source Sleuth who finds qualified sources willing to be interviewed and then emails you the contact information for one or two.

Our Guest Post on The Write Now Coach

Rochelle Melander was nice enough to invite us to guest post on The Write Now Coach.  We outline some of the basics of our business and answer some of the common questions people have about our service.

Here is a decent summary of how our service works:

First, writers can choose to make their queries private. When they do this, we don’t email out the query or announce it on social media. Writers don’t have to worry about being scooped or using a publication’s name.

Second, we find sources in a unique way. We search through a very large proprietary database that we have created. Our database is different because sources don’t have to know about us to be included in the database. Much like how Google finds and includes websites in their search engine, we find and include source profiles in our database. Because of this, we don’t have many PR professionals in our database. (Full disclosure: some people do pay to be included in our database, but they comprise less than 1% of our sources. This is how we are able to provide Source Sleuth as a free service to writers.)

Even though our database is expansive, we don’t have every single expert or source on the planet in there. When we don’t have a good source, we’ll track one down the good old-fashioned way—by using our brains, and doing the research and other legwork involved in finding a quality source. Because finding sources is all we do, we’ve gotten pretty good at tracking down and connecting reporters with high quality sources. We take our job pretty seriously, and we’ll usually research and connect a source with a writer within 48 hours.

Freelance Strategist Mention

We are honored that James O’Brien took time to put his on his shortlist his this article about finding sources. 

James and covers business, technology, marketing, travel, food, wine, the business of writing, and news. But what we find particularly cool is that while earning his PhD he researched Bob Dylan’s non-song writings — focusing on unpublished works and writings with limited distribution.

His book on writing, ‘The Indie Writer’s Survival Guide‘, is available at Amazon.

Fake Chef Pranks Local News

“Chef Keith”, aka as Nick Prueher appeared on a Milwaukee morning show to promote his book, “Leftovers Right.”  The only problem is that Chef Keith is actually a comedian and his appearance was actually a prank to promote The Found Footage Festival.

“Chef Keith” did an interview with Vice that explains how it happened.

It’s a funny reminder to always vet your sources.




Dollars and Deadlines write up

We want to send a big thank you to Kelly Jame-Enger for taking the time to interview us on her Dollars and Deadlines blog.

Kelly has been a freelance writer since 1997, has written hundreds of articles for national magazines and authored/coauthored/ghosted 12 books.  So we are honored to have her take an interest in us.

In this interview we talk about the importance of sources, what makes us different from other source services and how our service works behind the scenes.

Take a look: