Posted: Nov. 18, 2011 | Tags: Public Insight Network
We formed a partnership this month with the Public Insight Network and American Public Media to help us reach new and different sources. (Among APM's programs is one of my favorites, Marketplace.)
PIN is a network of more than 140,000 people who have agreed to be sources for newsrooms in the PIN consortium. Sources come from all walks of life: airline pilots and authors, professors and unemployed auto workers. They all have expertise in something, whether developed through their professional life or their life experience. Perhaps they've lost a job or house, for example, and can provide insight into their financial struggles the last four years.
These sources land in the network any number of ways. They might sign up after hearing about PIN on the radio or reading about it online. Or they may come upon the network through outreach efforts that target people who are less well-covered by mainstream media. For example, the Public Insight Network launched a project called LibrariUS that recruits people into the network who depend on their local public library for Internet access. Linda Fantin, the director of Network Journalism and Innovation at Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media, recently helped us find people who were unemployed and of a certain age, gender and race and living in a specific geographic location. She did this by searching the database; the people she found had come into PIN via the library project.
We're working with Fantin as well as Joellen Easton, the Public Insight partners manager, and Alison Brody, a Public Insight journalist, who now has a desk at our offices in Washington. Brody worked with us to send out online questionnaires for a story about the Great Depression, in which we're interviewing people in their later years who remember what it was like growing up in the 1930s. We emailed our query to those in the network within a certain age range. The quick and resounding response from around the country is priceless to us and, we hope, to our readers. Check back in December for our story.