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Resources for the modern journalist. From Loose Wire

LinkedIn: Researching stories

LinkedIn throws up lots of interesting background information about people you’re interviewing. If you’re covering a company you can also find ex-employees who may be more willing to talk than present ones. If someone is the subject of a story, LinkedIn should be one of the first places you look for background. A couple of examples: [JW1]

  • The Russian ‘spies like us’ scandal. Several of the spies had LinkedIn profiles, which not only yielded useful background information and photos, but also revealed connections worth following up. One, Donald Heathfield, had 74 connections and was “recommended” by former colleagues (a feature in LinkedIn which allows people who have worked together to write tributes about each other. Following up these people would have made a great sidebar.) The public profile page of his “wife” Tracey Foley (Ann Foley), homefinder, had a similar name to the real estate company of Anna Chapman, PropertyFinder Ltd. [1]
  • The dramatic departure of JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater: Slater had profiles on Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn, where his employment history was easy to gather.

[1] “Using LinkedIn to Research Spies Like Us,” Loose Wire Blog, July 3, 2010 http://www.loosewireblog.com/2010/07/linkedins-spy-secrets.html

[JW1]This material derives in part from research I published on my blog, loosewireblog.com

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