How do I use the Global PIN?

Joellen Easton -

Updated 11/27/2012 TMK, 07/15/14 JE


This article explains what the global PIN is, how to interact with it, and how the find the sources you're looking for within it.

What is the Global PIN?

The Global PIN is the pool of sources that all PIN newsrooms can query.  It is made up of all sources recruited by APM prior to August 19, 2011 as well as any source who responds to a global PIN query, who participates in a national outreach project (such as LibrariUS or Budget Hero), or who checks the "all newsrooms" box on their Manage Newsrooms page when they are logged in to  

Sources that are available to you through the Global PIN will appear in your search results under Available Sources, unless they have identified your newsroom as their primary newsroom, in which case they will appear under your Primary Sources.  (Refresh your memory on the different types of sources here.)

How to find (or avoid) sources in the Global PIN

To find people in the Global PIN, include this in your search: org_name=global

To avoid people in the Global PIN, include this in your search: org_name!=global

To screen for sources from APM opted into the Global PIN on August 19, 2011, search for them using a tag, like this: tag=globalpin

Say for instance you did a search on “economy” and got 1000 sources prior to the creation of the Global PIN. Now, you get 20,000 sources -- but you're only interested in local sources. Search state=mn (read: your state here). Or you can use filters or advanced search

Or maybe you only want sources that are really connected to your newsroom, not any Global PIN sources. To do that, search org_name!=global or org_name=nhpr (read: your newsroom short name here).

What to do if a source contacts you and says she doesn’t want to be in the Global PIN

There are two ways to do this.

It's ideal to empower the source to manage their own relationships: Ask the source to create a PIN account, go to the “Newsrooms” page, and opt out of the Global PIN. This is the section that says “ I want to hear from all newsrooms.”

Alternately, you could take care of it yourself: Go to the source profile page in AIR and opt them out of the “Global PIN Access” organization.

How to introduce yourself to global PIN sources in queries

As more and more sources become available to you through Source opt-ins and the global PIN, it's increasingly possible that you'll be querying sources you didn't recruit yourself.  It can be challenging to introduce yourself and what you're working on in a way that's simple, quick, and easy for the reader to understand why they're reading a question from a newsroom they haven't worked with in the past.

To help out with that, here's some language to try at the top of query emails when you're reaching out beyond your primary sources:

Thanks for being a source in the Public Insight Network, and for helping to make journalism better. I'm writing to you from [newsroom], which might not be the newsroom through which you joined the PIN. That's because the PIN has expanded the group of newsrooms it works with, and I'm able to send you questions because you're in the national pool of sources. (If you want to change that click [here (link to].)

If you're still with me, here's what we're working on....

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