Quick!

I need to talk to an expert in:

Unemployment in New York State

Renewable Energy

Obesity

Noise Pollution

Early Childhood Education

Affordable Housing

Income Inequality

Urban Renewal

 

When the news breaks and you’re on deadline, and need to talk with someone who knows more about the issue than you, it’s unrealistic to think your first thought will be “ok, let me do a quick Nexis dbase search and look for experts in this area.”

College and University websites are rich in expert knowledge across a variety of disciplines, and are often a first call for many journalists.

Our CUNY system is an excellent place to start.

Why contact an institution of higher learning; why not just do a quickie Google search for expert “alternative energy” bronx “new york”?

Glad you asked.

Universities and Colleges offer some of the most fertile soil when contemplating  of whom you may solicit expert knowledge; their faculties meet much of the criteria when seeking to find credible, non-biased experts, and institution leaders are eager to provide expert facts and comment.   

John or Jane Q. Skeptic Journalist that you are, look for:

  • Someone affiliated with a reputable organization.
  • Someone who has authored works that have been characterized or identified as authoritative in the field in question, by multiple reputable sources.
  • Someone who by virtue of their position (in a government agency, for instance) could be considered to be an authority.

 CUNY’s well-organized web sites will quickly point you to an area of expertise.

NOTE: In the interest of time, try to contact the person directly rather than go through public information officers.

The find a contact page for John Jay College of Criminal Justice is your ‘go to’ spot when trying to understand crime statistics or DNA analysis or youth gangs or counter terrorism strategies.  John Jay’s protocol requires you to go through its pr representative.

For those If you seek expertise on the history of immigration from Latin America to the United States, childhood education, food and nutrition, low income housing issues, don’t skip over Lehman College.  Contact information is provided by the Office of Media Relations, and you are also free to view brief bios, find email and telephone contact information on the main page

Baruch College’s press room provides a subject matter list of expert knowledge.  The span of expertise covers a wide spectrum – from economics and entrepreneurship to politics and music and fine arts.

If urban and public health is your area of focus, then Hunter College’s faculty expert database ought to be on your checklist.  The easy to use search engine allows you to search by topic or name.  In addition to brief bios, email and telephone contact information is provided for each expert.

Other Universities’ Experts 

If you are unfamiliar with NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, then make a note of their team of experts.  The staff at the Furman Center produce reports and studies on housing, neighborhood change and urban policy.  Have a look at one of their featured reports, state of new york’s housing and neighborhoods.

If your focus is race and ethnicity, or common core standards, literacy, politics and education, then Columbia University Teachers College research experts must be part of your expert knowledge list.

Need an expert who can discuss with authority, issues concerning school reform and the achievement gap; art and the performing arts; the community and environment?  NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture and Human Development, offers a valuable link to faculty experts

The Wagner Graduate School of Public Service (part of NYU) is also a valuable resource when looking for faculty experts  in matters concerning affordable housing, business improvement districts, air pollution and economic policy 

Additional Resources for Finding Experts

The American Statistical Association media experts list provides a pool of impartial statistical experts willing to help reporters analyze data. Very helpful when trying to make sense of important and meaningful data, distinct from agenda driven numbers.

Use LinkedIn‘s advanced search page to look for experts; have a go at looking for experts in Legionnaires disease in the Bronx

Staff at the Pew Research Center, provide comprehensive analysis of social, demographic and other trends shaping the U.S. and the world.  The list of experts  is a valuable resource for any reference shelf; and stay abreast of Pew’s experts on social media via twitterpew

The “About Us” of Think Tanks

Council on Foreign Relations

National Review Institute

New York Think Tanks

 

The Journalists Resource  portal from the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center is an excellent source for finding experts and story ideas.  It curates scholarly studies, reports and data on issues being discussed in today’s news.  The research is arranged by topic, and, under creative commons license, is freely available for journalists.  No registration is required.  Tremendous feeding trough for story ideas.

The Green Book Online is the official ( browsable) directory of the City of New York.

When you want to see who’s writing scholarly articles on your topic, don’t sleep on Google Scholar or Science Direct

Finally, if you are on a long-term project, or if you’ve got a month or so to bring your story from concept to reality, then do perform due diligence with a basic clip search – LexisNexis, Dow Jones FACTIVA, Google News or Google Scholar, or Bing (which now includes twitter).

Remember, your approach will yield results on two fronts – finding an expert and substantively informing yourself on the topic to the end that you will be able to formulate smart questions.

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