Contacting Journalist

Ways to be contacted. Photo by Hilary Gibney

Lately I’ve been noticing the difficulty of trying to get contact information from writers, companies, and even help departments for stores. I feel like I spend more time looking for HOW to contact someone than I do TALKING to him or her. I thought about this and realized – this doesn’t make since. Being on the web and having 24/7 access to everything is something this generation has grown accustomed too. So why don’t writers, reporters, and companies not make it easier to be reachable for their consumers?

This becomes a major problem when the contact information you’re looking for, is of a person you need to interview for next week’s deadline or more importantly, as reader you want to get in touch with the writer.

So this brings me to my real question – Do writers even want to make themselves accessible to their readers?

Generally, when you go onto news sites like, ABC News and USA Today, the most luck you’ll get is an ‘About the Writer’ page or the generic email address the writer has to put as their contact, but doesn’t actually check it.

It’s a loss for the writer because readers like information that they can be engaged and involved in. When a reporter puts out their contact information, it can lead him to get some harsh feedback, but atleast that means someone took the time to read the article. Reporters are the ones who advocate most for the First Amendment, right? So why not let readers use their freedom of speech, just like reporters do when they write.

A Times Union sports columnist, Jennifer Gish, was given harsh feedback after her article questioning the reactions of Bills fan.

People responded to her article with cruel comments like, “stay in the kitchen next time,” and “seen some photos of you and you are as ugly as your story”. Even though, Gish received some painful voicemails and emails, she’s glad her article invoked a respond in people. She is still going to continue to leave her contact information in her articles.

I think if a journalist wants to be taken seriously it is prevalent that they not only put their writing out on the web, but also their contact information. Journalist need to interact with their readers by clearing up questions they might have, explain reasoning on certain subjects, and also to let the reader get a human side of the writer. Readers like stories that they can relate to or find a connection with. By the writer communicating with the reader it makes the him or her interested in the writer, and what they have to say.

I do believe that Twitter is helping journalist when it comes to communicating with their readers. It allows writer’s fans follow what he or she is tweeting, and also respond back when people tweet at them.

Brian Stelter,the TV and media reporter for the New York Times, has gained more followers on Twitter by tweeting news coverage and details about his own life. Not only has this benefited him with popularity among the readers he admits he couldn’t image his life without Twitter.

“I want to live in that stream,” he says. “So scary to hear myself say, ‘I can’t imagine life without it.’ It’s a private, for-profit company.”

Is making your accessibility easy worth a few negative responses or is it easier to not have to respond, and risk losing readers?

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4 responses to “Contacting Journalist

  1. Emily - Drake University

    It’s important for writers to provide his or her contact information. Writers should want feedback from their readers and readers are more likely to provide feedback if it is easy for them. I don’t think many readers are motivated enough to go to great lengths to search for contact info. There will always be critics, and writers should be prepared to hear from them and take readers’ opinions into account.

  2. The level of security you place upon your contact information should reflect the popularity of your work. If I was a major reporter for the NYT, I would not want my direct contact information available to the general public. As a student reporter, I understand the difficulties of this security wall. Yet, we also need to respect the privacy of the media.

  3. I’ve been on the receiving end of an unwarranted, angry response to an article before and, while it’s a jarring experience, I think that just comes with the gig. We can’t expect to be able to contact people if we don’t extend that same courtesy. Besides, journalism is becoming more of a conversation as we become more interconnected.

    I agree with Marina in that, if I were a big name reporter, I wouldn’t put my personal cell on my contact list. However, I would certainly list my office phone and email address.

  4. I like how you said that journalism is becoming more of a conversation. Especailly now with social media taking over more and more of our everyday lives. I think twitter is becoming a huge tool for journalist to connect with their readers. And it’s true that big time reporters can’t just go and put their contact information out for the world to see, but then I dont see why they cant put some sort of contact information and check on it regularly.

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