These tips are timely for anyone looking to localize reporting on the tumultuous events in Libya and good for covering international news wherever you are.
Veteran journalist Carl Lavin posted them in a discussion on the LinkedIn for Journalists group. (IJNet recommends joining it and taking advantage of the free training sessions to harness the power of the 100-million member social network).
Lavin, former managing editor at Forbes.com and The Philadelphia Inquirer, suggests beefing up your virtual Rolodex by using the advanced search function on LinkedIn. Once there, try "Libya" as keyword paired with your zip code, select how many miles you want to cast the net, leave all other options blank and make sure the "all LinkedIn members" box is checked.
How well does it work?
In my case, centering around the San Francisco bay area, there were 54 results - enough leads to get started. You can also sort by "relevance" or "connections."
It turns out an editor at a publication where I freelance worked as director of a travel program organizing trips to Libya and visited Tripoli on vacation recently. Farther-removed connections included a current acting manager of Chevron in Libya, a San Francisco architect who was working there until the unrest started in February and a Ph.D student of Islamic finance from Benghazi. (A perk of taking the LinkedIn for journalist training is a free one-year membership that allows you to direct email members even if you are not connected).
What social media resources are you using in reporting?