How easy is it for your readers to tip you off?

Here’s a case study in making it easy for your readers to tip you off.

Earlier today I was sent a link to a YouTube clip of former Bolton Wanderers and Villa midfielder Sasa Curcic, made up of clips from the Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro version of Celebrity Big Brother, in which he was competing.

A quick Google later, and I discover that not only has he been competing – he actually won the thing this week.

Spotting a quirky story when I see it, and being the nice journalist that I am, I decided to inform the Bolton News and the Birmingham Mail – but through their websites rather than through personal contacts.

The difference in accessibility is interesting: the Bolton News make it easy for people to contact them, with a range of contacts on a ‘Contact Us’ page. The Birmingham Mail, on the other hand, is not so straightforward. Being part of the ‘icBirmingham’ site means you have to drill down to the Mail section, and then the less obvious ‘About Us’ page.

So I email both sports editors, and see what happens.

Within three hours, the Bolton News has a story up – ‘Former Wanderers star wins Big Brother‘. The Birmingham Mail… well, I wait with bated breath.

So, two lessons: have a very obvious ‘contact us’ link on your news site – and secondly: when you report a tip-off story like this, credit the tipster at the end*, or send an email to let them know their tip was appreciated. If you’re looking to engender a sense of community, and build relations, you need to give something back to reinforce that behaviour.

*UPDATE: Turns out I was credited – on another page. Thanks to Chris Sudlow for letting me know (see comment), and credit for being savvy enough to monitor incoming links.

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