Crowdsourcing Journalism: Help A Reporter Out

Let me just say that I love crowdsourcing and crowdsourced projects. With all the things that are being crowdsourced today, one of the most interesting is the trend toward crowdsourcing journalism. On the forefront of this effort is HARO….or Help A Reporter Out. HARO is the brainchild of Peter Shankman, an entrepreneur and the CEO of The Geek Factory, a PR and Marketing boutique firm in New York City. Essentially HARO connects journalists who have questions or queries for their stories with YOU. It’s such a simple but amazing way to connect journalists with the widest possible selection of sources available to them. They ask a question…you answer it. As I said, I absolutely love crowdsourcing and I think that HARO has hit it out of the park with this one. As for rules, HARO has just this simple advice (and you might apply this in other areas of your life/business as well):

“Just promise me and yourself that you’ll ask yourself before you send a response: Is this response really on target? Is this response really going to help the journalist, or is this just a BS way for me to get my client in front of the reporter? If you have to think for more than three seconds, chances are, you shouldn’t send the response.”

That’s it. It’s simple, it’s effective and it requires very little effort…oh yeah, and did I mention it’s FREE. That’s what makes crowdsourcing work the best! Four letters: F-R-E-E.

Here’s how it works: After you register on HARO’s website, you receive a simple email a few times a day with questions and queries from legitimate reporters around the globe (totally not spammy either). If you are really able to answer the questions or are a qualified expert in an area of need, you can become a real source for the reporter. Today, there are 30,000 journalists who have used HARO, sending out more than 3000 queries per month to over 80,000 members. That’s a great network and a tremendous crowd to source from.

Right now, the emails contain queries for all sorts of categories. But, future plans are for additional break-outs with specific HARO notices for specific industry verticals.

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