Find Expert Sources Easily


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?


6 responses to “Find Expert Sources Easily

  1. I don’t think having easier access to sources could possibly make our jobs “less fun”, but I could foresee some trust issues from veteran reporters.

    I personally have compiled a source list from every source I’ve used in the past, regardless of what magazine I worked for at the time, or what application I used that source for.

    You never know when you’ll need them again.

    Profnet sounds like an excellent resource for those that are comfortable using it. I’d personally prefer doing it the old fashioned way.

  2. I agree with your point that it could create trust issues with veteran reporters. I was thinking the same thing. Who is to say that these sources are experts? What is the criteria for these sources to be included in ProfNet’s database? This is an important question to ask.

  3. I’ve found ProfNet sources to be reliable and credible. Another good source is HARO, Help A Reporter Out,

    HARO is using Twitter effectively:

  4. I think it definitely depends on the publication you’re working for. In some ways, I think this does take some of the fun out of journalism. I think it would make me nervous to trust a database to find a source. I’d rather find them myself. Then if it turns out to be a bad source, I’m responsible. Or, sources also come from recommendations from co-workers or people you contact regularly for a given beat. I guess I view this as valuable networking and communication that you would miss out on by using ProfNet. But, I can understand that if you’re writing for a national publication, sourcing becomes much more complicated than writing for a local paper or a niche paper. So, I definitely understand and appreciate the utility of it.

  5. Sometimes finding your own sources is a great way to build relationships within the community. If someone finds those sources for you, those connections could be lost. Also, sources you find on your own could give you information that could lead to a different story or idea, or they may suggest other people to talk to.

  6. Pingback: Tools for Finding Sources | Media Editing

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