Thursday, June 26, 2008

Help a Reporter Out: A Window into Media Trends

A month ago, I discovered Peter Shankman's Help a Reporter Out mailing list (yes, purists would say it should be "Help Out a Reporter," but then he'd lose his HARO acronym). More than 11,000 reporters and publicists subscribe to the list, which sends out media requests for sources two or three times a day, prefaced by a big dose of Peter's highly energetic personality.

I joined the list initially to see whether there might be some opportunities for my authors to serve as expert sources (and get their books mentioned in the article). And I have seen several stories that they might be good sources for. But mainly I'm just being entertained and educated by it. It's fascinating to see the kinds of stories that reporters are hoping to write, such as
  • Moms who don't drive a minivan (I thought I could be a source until I saw that they wanted someone with at least three kids for this one.)
  • Is your surgery on YouTube? (I certainly hope not!)
  • Celebrities with food allergies (Do tell...)
  • Your beef jerky experiences (Just watching those disturbing SlimJim commercials.)

I'm also seeing some trends emerging--lots of queries about "green" this and that, and an inordinate amount about skin care. It's also instructive to see how far out reporters are planning their stories (some are already working on holiday-themed pieces).

So check it out. Who knows what inspiration you will find!

1 comment:

isculpt said...

I read your article on (HARO) Help A Reporter Out. I created a video on the subject and I thought I would send it. Here is a rendition or a You Tube version that you can share with your readers and even embed in your blog. Each give you code to do just that.


Bridgette Mongeon