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How News Stories Get Written


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I get quoted a fair bit in the press, usually through my subscription to ProfNet. I thought this might interest some of you--seeing the inside of how it works.




Typically I get 300 requests for expertise a day, to which I respond to 1-2/week, and most of those end up as printed expertise in national publications. If you have an expert area, you can do the same thing through "Help a Reporter" which also has a website.


For instance today, a received a request (based on my profile in ProfNet) for the business costs of employee turnover in small businesses. I didn't feel like I knew enough about it, so I deferred. Another one came from Forbes, asking this: "I'm interested in speaking with career coaches and experts about the tangible and intangible benefits that employees can and should ask for. I'd like for some of them to be more surprising than the typical flex schedule, better office, etc. Please send suggestions of benefits by e-mail and I will follow up."


So they are varied, and if nothing else tell you what's hot in the news.

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No, you have to go through an extensive process to join and it costs $1.000-4,000/year, depending on the feeds you want to subscribe to. You have to be a bonafide journalist or expert.

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interesting, so if a reporter does not get a response from you they just make stuff up? If they don't get expert input they have to go with journalistic intuition? Certainly stories are not help up for lack of documented information are they?

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They usually get enough responses, and then they issue a "stop order" saying that people can quit sending in responses. If they don't, they'll resend the query or just run with what they have. The best journalists don't make stuff up, though they might shorten the piece to keep it substantive.

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So I guess the incentive to pay to give your expertise for free is for fame/advertising/positioning/prestige? To get your name in the news?


It might be cheap advertising I guess.

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I don't think the system serves the public's interest all that well. Obviously the motivations to sign up do not necessarily correspond to competence in a field or communication skills. Obviously contributors may be motivated to sensationalize responses for attention.


I think the public would be better served if news organizations or a clearinghouse such as this identified experts based on desirable criteria, hired them, and placed them on retainer and charged the news services for the service.



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