HARO, standing for “Help A Reporter Out” is an online social interface that allows reporters to directly interact with sources. HARO was started by Peter Shankman originally as a Facebook page in 2008. Shankman, who has a background in public relations, has created a pretty effective query/answer environment in which users may respond to reporters who need confirmable sources for stories and news releases. Users may also request that their blog information be included in the stories that cite their source information.
What Can Reporters Expect From Joining HARO?
Plan to get three e-mails every weekday with “shankman.com” listed in the subject line. The e-mail begins with an advertisement – a few lines of text with a link or two. Shankman makes the advertisements themselves interesting as he interjects personal statements such as “I wish this was around when I was a kid” or “This is a great hotel and they’re offering HARO members a big discount”. Following the advertisement, expect a few lines from Peter himself. Often, this is information about business trips and speaking engagements – where he is and what he’s doing. It’s almost like hearing from a friend a couple of times a day.
Then the query list begins. It is indexed into categories:
- Business and Finance
Typically, the list includes 30-40 queries. Under each category is a line explaining what the writer/reporter/ editor is seeking. A new addition has been the ability to click and link directly to the specific information- reporter’s name, media outlet, contact information, specific need, etc. Additional links for “Back to Top” and “Back to Category Index” make it easy to navigate and look through the e-mail quickly.”
I encourage you to take a look around the site and consider joining. HARO’s motto is “Everyone is an expert at something” this give those who are passionate about journalism and public relations.