Ongoing Coverage:

Iowa Public Radio Insight Network FAQ

Why do you ask for information about me for the Iowa Public Radio Insight Network?

We ask for information about you so that we can better target our requests to you and focus on topics where you are likely to have experience and insight. Sometimes we will ask you for help on varied stories to explore new areas where you have expertise we don't know about.

Rest assured, we will not share this private information beyond the public insight analysts and other journalists working on stories based on your insights.

How do I share what I know with you and the Iowa Public Radio Insight Network?

In general, we will ask for your help by e-mail. We'll tell you about a topic we're researching. If you have expertise on the topic or relevant experience, we'll ask you to share that information in a brief survey. If you don't have knowledge on a particular topic, you should ignore the request or forward it to someone you think might have expertise on the topic.

We will also occasionally ask you to share your ideas for stories we should be covering. We will consider every idea that comes in, especially if you provide specific information to help us pursue the story. Of course, we can't cover every story people suggest.

How will you use the information people give you through the Iowa Public Radio Insight Network?

We are committed to protecting the privacy and confidentiality of our public sources. IPR will not quote anyone on the air or online without first getting permission.

Personal information shared with us is tightly restricted to a small group of public insight analysts and other journalists working directly on stories using public sources. No one else will use this information to contact our sources.

We will use the knowledge, observations and expertise people provide to inform our news and cultural reporting. Our public insight analysts maintain relationships with public sources, distill the information we receive, check it and pass the best information and sources to our reporters. From there, reporters do what they have always done - research and interview to produce balanced stories that get at the truth, and put it in context.

How is Public Insight Journalism different from how your journalists have worked in the past?

Our journalists are always trying to find the best sources and the best information to tell their stories. Yet it's challenging to find sources who are beyond the usual spokespeople, officials and experts. And it's tough to survey a wide range of knowledge quickly under a deadline.

Now, e-mail and the internet make it possible for us to interact with people more quickly - even with breaking news. Those same technologies also allow us to keep track of information in a central database and distill it into a powerful storehouse of intelligence.

Our Public Insight Network partner American Public Media has created specialized software for us to gather knowledge and insight from the public and then manage that information so it is available to help our journalists.

What is Public Insight Journalism?

The Iowa Public Radio Insight Network is a new approach that our reporters and producers are using to find diverse sources and a broader range of information. In short, we partner with the public through our Network, a group of people across the state who have agreed to help us cover the news as "public sources."

Many of our public sources have told us about their work, education, passions and expertise. We ask some of these public sources in the network to share their observations and knowledge with us on specific stories. Our public insight analysts take that information and pass it on to our reporters and editors. Analysts may follow up with a request for more information, or perhaps an interview with a public source.

We also ask public sources to tell us about stories that we should be covering - stories that matter to them and are not on our radar. And we ask people to participate in online interactives where they share ideas and stories and reason through tough issues.

These public insights help us set our agenda for coverage and inform our reporting. We believe this partnership creates more diverse and in-depth news and cultural coverage. It also makes IPR's programs even more trusted and credible sources of news and information.

Okay, I'm ready to join the Iowa Public Radio Insight Network. How do I sign up?

You can go to our sign-up page to become a public source now. Thanks for helping us strengthen our journalism by sharing what you know!