What to do when PR people want to create accounts on behalf of sources

Anna Weggel -

Updated 07/15/14 JE

We often get requests that look like this:

Hello, I work in Public Relations at XXXXXXXXX. I have several clients who would make great sources for healthcare-related articles. Can I sign up to be in the Public Insight Network on their behalf to field all opportunities? --Susan


A few things are important when responding.

  1. Make sure Susan knows that we are happy to have her as a source, as we're interested in letting her personal experience inform our stories.
  2. Make sure she knows she can't actually create PIN accounts on behalf of people, as their accounts need to be verified by receipt of email. So unless Susan has access to her clients' email, the account would not be able to be verified.  (And we wouldn't want to suggest she pose as her clients.)
  3. Give Susan suggestions. Tell her she can note on her own profile the types of sources she can access.  Make sure she knows that we would love for her clients to fill out profiles for themselves.
  4. Stress that what's important to us is getting at the heart of news issues by hearing from knowledgeable sources, and that although we prefer to hear directly from sources themselves, we often are referred to great people by our sources. 


Here's an example of how I might respond to Susan:

Hi Susan,

PIN is a platform for connecting individuals directly with journalists based on their expertise, life experiences, and interest in responding to journalists' questions. We are happy to have you, personally, as a source and to hear insights from your experts as well.

It can get a little tricky, though, with creating profiles in our database for others: Each PIN source account needs to be verified by receipt of email. So you can't create source profiles on behalf of others, unless you have access to their email, which I would not recommend.

You have a couple of options: You may create a profile for yourself about your own experiences and expertise, including detail of the kinds of people you can connect with reporters (and the issues and fields in which they have expertise). You can also (and we encourage this!) encourage your contacts to fill out their own profiles in PIN. The signup form, which both you and your contacts can use, is here: https://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/source/en/....

We of course would prefer to hear directly from the sources themselves, but it's common for sources to refer us to their friends, family, and colleagues if they have expertise on an issue we're reporting. Either way, getting to the heart of an issue by hearing from sources that are personally knowledgeable on a topic is our ultimate goal.

Does that help? Please let me know if you have any further questions.

And thanks!


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