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Every good journalist knows that people are the foundation of a story and sources can often make or break a piece of reporting.

So wouldn't it be great if journalists could find contacts to guide them in a foreign country, experts to quote in their story or eyewitness footage from around the world quickly and in one place?

Here are five platforms and communities that can help you find and connect with the right people at the right time.


Having recently expanded, Paydesk's database now includes around 2,000 freelance journalists and contributors in over 150 countries.

If you or your editor need someone to report from a remote location, or provide live coverage of a breaking news event, PayDesk lets you search by location and quickly connect with the right person who can help.

PayDesk also makes sure its freelancers go through a rigorous process of having their previous work and references checked, so you don't have to worry about inaccurate material.

Although you can browse the database for free, PayDesk charges a 25 per cent commission on each assignment.


When your reporting assignment takes you to a country you're not familiar with, it's difficult to figure out where to start: who should you contact and how?

WorldFixer is a community where journalists and producers can find people with knowledge and contacts in a certain area and reach out to them in advance.

You can search according to country, area of expertise and language and, similarly to PayDesk, the platform asks all fixers to supply references and contacts before featuring them in the database.

Browsing and contacting people is free for journalists, but should you require a more "tailored approach" for an assignment, WorldFixer will charge a commission based on the level of support required.


SourceRise was founded in 2014 as a platform that connects journalists to on-the-ground expert sources from all over the world.

Focusing mainly on development news reporting, it aims to make it easier for news outlets and journalists to cover international stories, by facilitating a global network of expert NGO source that you can access for free.

You can email a source request to SourceRise and the platform will match you with the right people or even with NGOs that would be able to host you and provide support in the area of your reporting.

Expertise Finder

It often happens that you have a great idea for a story, but you're lacking the context or quotes to put it into perspective.

To help speed up the process, former journalist Stavros Rougas co-founded Expertise Finder (previously Spot Me), a search engine that journalists can use for free to find experts on a subject of their choice.

Although it is currently limited to academic experts from North American universities and colleges, the topics it covers range from politics to corruption and business.

Media Diversified

Non-profit organisation Media Diversified launched a directory of experts similar to Expertise Finder earlier this year, with the aim of promoting a more diverse range of voices in the media.

Journalists can connect to professionals from a number of backgrounds, including academia, Europe, feminism and human rights.

The website allows you to search by the location, expertise, age and sex of a source, as well as their experience with print, audio or video and each expert's profile includes a short biography and examples of previous work.

Non-subscribers can browse the database and see experts' biographies for free, but Media Diversified will charge journalists a commission on a case-by-case basis to provide a person's contact details and portfolio.

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