Section 2

Finding experts in professional practice and study

Before starting this section, let students think about the following:

QUESTION: What type of experts might you need to look for when reporting? — Then, guide to the following:

Expanding on what was discussed in Section 1, you are not an expert in everything and you may have to write about topics you are not familiar with at all. Knowing how to reach experts in a variety of different fields and industries will strengthen your reporting.  

Make sure you are familiar with using keywords and search terms when looking for different fields and industries. Being familiar with jargon can help you navigate and find the expert you may need.

TIP: There are several free expert finding databases available to use, and will come in handy when dealing with the next section on finding experts in different fields/studies.

Try the following resources (for all remaining fields/studies of expert finding):

Expert Click

Expertise Finder

Expert File

*NOTE: Let students know these are popular fields/studies but not inclusive experts for their reporting.

Law and Crime Experts

Looking for attorneys or criminal experts can seem intimidating or difficult at first.  But, it is not as hard you may think to approach them for your stories

Attorneys can be found by searching state bar association’s member search database. Most states have an online database, if not reach out and call them for more information.

Other resources to consider to search for legal professionals:



When looking for crime experts (criminal justice, prison, police, etc) – it may not be obvious but you can look at faculty experts in their respective fields. You can look at retired professionals from prison, corrections or police departments.

Similar to scholarly experts, you can find criminal justice professors via universities – this will work for most sources. Another source to consider:

Scholars Strategy Network

Business and Nonprofit Experts

You may look for an expert for a business story, because you are not sure about how the stock market works,  or you need a refresher on the difference between bonds and stocks. Whatever the case may be, tapping into business analysts can seem daunting.

TIP: Don’t forget to remind students that the strategies can be used in more than one instance. Don’t let them get caught in a hole that they just use one tool or strategy, allow them to build on the concept of finding expert sources

Look at the following for leads on finding experts in the business world:

Mergent You can search the Investext tab at the top right for Analyst’s Reports o cmpanies or industries.

Better Business Bureau


ASK CLASS: what is a nonprofit?

Helpful link to discuss:

ASK CLASS: What is an NGO?

Helpful link to discuss:

Here are some resources to find nonprofit/non-government sources:

United Nations Civil Society Database

Citizen Audit


Foundation Center

Medical and Government Experts

We’ve addressed several common types of expert sources that may be needed for reporting:

As mentioned, this is just a starting point, but not an inclusive list. The concept is to take these strategies and apply them to any or all fields of expert sourcing.

TIP: repeat that using the strategies will work for finding professionals in most fields, when going into the different fields — it is important not to make the strategy seem like it’s only for one field. The topic is separated to emphasis the different types of experts, but it is not inclusive.

Looking at the medical field, you may want to consult a doctor or nurse for a story on vaccinations, or maybe you can reach out to a medical professional teaching at a university – remind the concepts you learned to navigate, and here are few more to widen your search:

Association of Health Care Journalists

PubMed (use in the same manner as Google Scholar)

Last but not least,  finding government experts can be difficult.  But, most official governments have an organizational directory that shows who works for what organization.

For example, on the federal government level:

On a state and local level, looking at New York City for example:

NYC Green BookState Policy Network (this is nationwide)