Getting Ink Requests is a resource aimed at journalists seeking contributors of all kinds.
Any journalist can post up a request, and await a response either from members of the public or PR types who mosey on by.
It’s an interesting idea, especially given the novelty of some of the requests I’ve been reading through.
This post is a good example of just how hard it can be to find contributors in journalism. The poster in question is looking for women to talk about “the biggest mistake they ever made”.
This one is a real nutcracker, but in keeping with the whole ‘practice what you preach’ schtick, I’m going to give it a bash here.
My initial instinct is to suggest going to a forum where lots of women are talking about their lives – like Mumsnet – and post a request there.
The focus of Mumsnet is on parenthood, which is a possible area in which women might have made a pretty big mistake(!) Its then worthwhile thinking about other key areas where mistakes can have a big affect on women’s lives – careers, relationships, sex, health.
Once you’ve got a long enough list, it’s worth finding out if there are any groups in social networks which might provide contributors. For example, this group in Facebook is aimed at singles, while this Google Group is for professional women.
If these fail, its a good idea to think of a profession which might help put you in touch with people. The only non-themed professions I can think of which might help here would be counsellors or therapists (though of course this assumes the women in question have sought help with their problems).
If I were in work, I would direct the journalist in question either to a newspaper cuttings database, or internal archives system to see if this theme has cropped up before, and who contributed then.
One last thing, academic case studies are a good place to look for real life experiences – this advanced search of Google Scholar returned quite a few potential leads, from an array of different backgrounds (from an article on farm women, to a BMJ readers’ feature).
But getting back to the site, this type of source is certainly not unique.
Askcharity is the place to go for case studies or practitioners/experts if you’re working on an ‘issues-based’ theme (and with a bit of tweaking here and there, the case study search above might benefit from this source). Profnet is it’s equivalent in the field of academic expertise, while The Legal Hub provides a means of contacting expert witnesses. But there are countless others out there in various niches too.
There are editorial issues concerning the finding of contributors via third-party sites like this, not least the potential for the self-selecting and self-obsessed to use the media to their own advantage/agenda.
But as long as everyone goes into the process with their eyes open, then this risk can at least be managed.