Reporters Getting the Scoop on LinkedIn

[responsive]Linkedinlogo[/responsive]Of the 330 million users worldwide on LinkedIn, 40% use the site on a daily basis according to Rob Tornoe in Editor & Publisher. And many of those users are reporters seeking to connect with experts and find inside information on the companies they cover.

“…as LinkedIn has grown users, it has also evolved into an important tool that has allowed journalists to break big news stories,” Tornoe writes. He shares the story of Scott Martin, former USA Today reporter, who scooped the Twitter IPO story.

“[Martin] decided to use LinkedIn to keep tabs on companies he was covering as part of his beat,” writes Tornoe. “His method involved creating saved searches for new job postings for specific companies that would ping him whenever a new job was advertised.

“Along comes Twitter, one of the companies Martin was covering, who were being dismissive about the prospect of filing an IPO. Quietly, they posted a job opening for a financial reporting manager who could handle filing the company’s preliminary IPO document when the company was ‘ready to go public.’

“Martin instantly received a notification of the job opening, and he used the information to scoop everyone on Twitter’s plans,” says Tornoe, scoring a huge coup for himself and his employer.

“Searches aren’t just useful for business and tech reporters following a particular beat or company,” Tornoe continues. “Using LinkedIn to find local experts and sources during a breaking news event, like a train derailment or industrial accident, could be highly useful to a reporter on a tight deadline.”

While companies are finding less value on Facebook, LinkedIn seems to be providing personal connections and access to highly targeted individuals that can make a real difference in a news story or a career. And the fact that more than 40% of LinkedIn members make upwards of $100K/year means users are connecting with an elite, mainly white collar and highly educated audience.

Digital tools are certainly changing the landscape of journalism, with crowd funding of critical stories and intimate, direct access to company insiders and the information they post. Living our lives in the social sphere means our secrets are harder to keep. And that’s a journalist’s dream.