Journalist has publicist scout, vet sources

Letter to Romenesko

From RANDY HECHT: I’ve got to bring this post in LinkedIn’s Answers section to your attention. A publicist posted a question on behalf of a journalist “for a major news outlet” who is looking for certain sources. The sources are instructed to respond to the publicist, and those she likes, she’ll pass along to the journalist.

I’m spinning in my grave, and I’m not even dead.

* Journalist looking for female LinkedIn members who have drastically changed their career field with the help of LinkedIn



  1. fermata said:

    is this really such a big deal? It’s no different from those services (can’t remember names now, something bureau?) where journalists in search of sources would post info on stories in development. This girl’s PR firm represents LinkedIn. She was obviously contacted by the reporter and didn’t have the right user testimonials at hand. Only difference is soliciting stories “in the open” instead of behind the scenes. Doesn’t bother me.

  2. fermata said:

    ProfNet, that’s the one I was thinking of

  3. Ben said:

    I wouldn’t assume that the PR person is doing this with the reporter’s knowledge/permission. I’ve never had this happen, quite. But I’ve asked PR people before if they knew anyone who fit a certain category (“hey, I’m looking for someone who stopped eating meat for environmental reasons”) and later found out they emailed half the planet touting a “media opportunity.”

  4. anon said:

    I saw that same query on the help a reporter out list.

    HARO terms and conditions don’t allow people to repost queries from the list. Of course, this query could have come to the publicist a different way.

    The current question no longer says the sources the publicist likes will be passed along.