Reporters develop many of their stories by interviewing sources. They have to be able to find those sources who can provide the information they need to complete their stories. Sometimes whom the reporter needs to interview is obvious, but sometimes it requires some research to find the right source. Here are some places reporters can look to find the people with the information they need.

Local Government

Many local governments publish directories of officials on the World Wide Web or in print. Local chapters of the League of Women Voters often publish directories of local officials.

State Government

Many state governments annually publish directories of their agencies. The directories describe each agency's responsibilities and identify its top personnel. Some include the salaries of all or most people who work for the state. The directories are available in most community libraries. States also put much of the same information on the Web.

Federal Government

The federal government publishes the U.S. Government Manual every year. Most libraries have a copy. It is also available on the Web.

Nongovernmental Organizations

Some excellent news sources work not for government but for private organizations. The Encyclopedia of Associations, a reference work found in most college and university libraries, lists thousands of organizations and interest groups. Each organization is described in a paragraph accompanied by its address and phone number and the name of its top official.


Reporters can find knowledgeable and helpful sources at local colleges and universities. College and university public relations offices usually help reporters identify and contact faculty members who have relevant information.

Private Business

Business leaders often join local service clubs, like Rotary and Lions, and some clubs publish directories of their members identifying them by company and title. Some companies publish internal phone books, and reporters may be able to get copies. Most businesses have to file documents and reports with local, state and federal governments. Those documents often identify the business' top executives.

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