A free subscription service called ProfNet has quickly become a fast and easy way for journalists to get in contact with expert sources throughout the reporting process. ProfNet has taken the stress out of researching for a story. With ProfNet, journalists no longer have to search for sources. Credible sources come to them.
ProfNet is like Craig’s List for reporters. In no time at all a journalist can receive an assignment, log onto ProfNet, submit a request for expert sources on a certain subject, and sit back and relax while the website quickly connects the reporter with just the right people from the website’s database of credible expert sources.
ProfNet allows reporters to handpick from a list of sources and even tailor sources to fit specific needs. Sound too good to be true? For students, it could be. To use ProfNet, subscribers must be affiliated with a professional publication. Some of us may not be able to use it now, but it’s something to look forward to out in the real world.
For me, this is great news. In my opinion, researching for a story is always one of the most stressful stages of the writing process. Even if I find a source on the Internet or through the phone book, there’s no guarantee that person will provide the information I need for my story. Even worse, the source may never answer the phone or respond to voicemail or email. Then I’m back to square one, and precious reporting time is wasted.
For others, ProfNet could take the fun out of journalism. Some people love the reporting process. For these people, getting out there and finding the story is what makes the job exciting. In that case, ProfNet keeps reporters in the office instead of out searching for sources.
Have any of you heard about ProfNet? What are your opinions? Does it take the fun out of our job, or does it make everything a whole lot easier?