The blogosphere has been nattering about a new case study blog: Getting Ink Requests; a site that attempts to make finding difficult case studies a lot easier by literally ‘asking around’.
Roy Greenslade adds his endorsement here.
I’m new to this game — as I suspect most of the readers of this blog are – but I find something a little unsettling about the insular nature of such a project. As it stands, the sole readers of this case study blog are journalists and maybe the odd PR. Now while journalists know real human beings as well (I mean that in the nicest possible way, of course), I’m sure there are more effective ways of finding legitimate case studies for stories.
If we rely on our journalism colleagues for our stories, we only increase the perception of the press only representing a small portion of society, an argument I hear all too often from non-journo friends. I’m sure all student journalists will be familiar with the breed of student journo that looks to their immediate family as a source of stories. “My Auntie went to Taiwan, so I’ll do a feature on that” is the sort of thing I hear all too often. The Getting Ink blog isn’t as sinful as that but, in my opinion, it’s not too far off.
Again, I may be showing my green side here when I doubt the integrity of the “think of story, find case study” process. This outlook seems to encourage thinking up crazy ideas for stories and then searching the wilderness for a case study that fits the bill. Features to order, in other words. There will always be an element of “you’ll do” about it.
Freelancers have a tough job. Stories don’t arrive on a freelancers desk the same way it will for a news editor. A freelancer has to actively seek out stories. I accept all that — but I seriously question the integrity of this back-to-front journalism.
The logical question at this point is what do I think we should do to get good case studies. Well, you know, I’m not sure. I guess you find extraordinary people when you least suspect it.