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Getting the most from Sources

Telling Journalists Who You Are

The heart of your Sources listing is The Descriptive Paragraph. An effectively written descriptive paragraph will have a noticeable impact on the number of calls your organization receives from journalists. It’s worth it to take the time to craft a good paragraph.

The descriptive paragraph is a capsule introduction. Some organizations print their mission statement while others choose to address journalists and researchers directly. Make sure your paragraph is appropriate for Sources users. It’s important to remember that the journalists using Sources are looking for articulate, available experts on issues, not for a shopping list of products or a few lines from your annual report. Tailor your writing to their needs.

One organization that does its descriptive paragraph particularly well is the The University of Toronto. U of T’s descriptive paragraph includes the number of experts available, asks Sources users to call the contacts listed and to take a look at the university’s WWW site. Another well-written paragraph belongs to The Canadian Initiative on Workplace Violence. It emphasizes the experience of the Initiative’s spokespeople and lists the issues they are able to speak about.

You may want to include essential definitions in your paragraph. Don’t assume Sources users are familiar with the complexities of what your organization does. Ideally they will call and ask you about specifics, but a well-written definition or phrase may catch a journalist’s eye and prompt him or her to call you. The result could be a story about your organization.

For more simple, cost-effective suggestions for improving your Sources listing please contact Listings Co-ordinator at (416) 964-5735 or see How to get the most out of your Sources listing.


See also:
Helping journalists find you: Getting the most from the Subject Index
Contacts: Connecting directly with Canadian journalists
How Sources magnifies your Internet visibility