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Monday, June 23, 2008

A beatblogging success story

A nice story from one of the Beatbloggers about how using social networks - advertising that you're interested in hearing from residents of a community - can work a treat for rustling up stories.

This is from US reporter Daniel Victor, who writes for the Patriot-News (Pennsylvania):

A woman in the town I cover believed that she had spotted an injustice... But she didn’t know what to do with this knowledge, so like any other computer user, she turned to Google.

She typed in the name of a resident in town who her neighbors had recommended, a person who might know what to do with this information.One of the first results took her to The Hershey Home, the Ning network I set up for the beatblogging project. The resident she sought has been a frequent contributor to the network.

Once there, she strolled around the site. She read all of my solicitations for story ideas, background information on stories I was already working on, and feedback for stories I’ve already written. She went ahead and e-mailed me to set up a meeting.

After she spilled the beans at our meeting, I asked her why she contacted me. “I just read through your comments on the site, and you seemed like the type of person who would want to hear this,” she responded.

Imagine that! I may have stumbled upon a high-impact story based on a tip from a person who isn’t even a member of the network. She chose to contact a reporter because the network put up an “Open for Business” sign, and revealed that I have a genuine interest in hearing from as many residents as possible.