You start researching your story, find your sources, contact them and then you wait. And wait, and wait. Sometimes you wait for more than a day with no response whatsoever from your sources. If you’ve never been in this situation before, then it can be quite the predicament and frustrating. There is a way out, however, and I shamelessly resorted to it this week. This resource is none other than your favorite social network site Facebook, and it can help you out of more than just one tight spot if you let it.
With today’s world revolving around email and texting, you would think that people would actually check these things more often. In reality, however, many people automatically ignore an email when they initially see it. They don’t think about how you will be pulling your hair out on the other end when they don’t get back to you, but it is not the end of the world. Finding alternative sources may be annoying, but new sources that will actually respond is better than one source that is unresponsive.
If sources still aren’t responding by email, this is when Facebook can help. I cannot count the number of times I have emailed a source, had no response, but then Facebook messaged them and they got back to me right away. For whatever reason, people are more glued to this site than they are email, so use it to your advantage! Don’t just stop at messaging them though. Get their phone number and call them or even better, set up a personal interview.
Unresponsive sources is likely the most frustrating thing about journalism. It does happen on a regular basis, so it is not a bad idea to know how to tackle it. In this age of media, we have so many outlets available to us, but traditional methods of contact should not fall by the wayside. When those are not enough though, there is Facebook and other social media to help you.