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Home > Topics & Tools > Digital Media > Innovations > Knock, knock: How reporters can use LinkedIn to open doors

Knock, knock: How reporters can use LinkedIn to open doors

Journalists can use the professional network's new features to find sources and share ideas.

By Catherine Payne, NAA content producer

Before knocking on doors, reporters can tap on their smartphones to prepare for impromptu meetings and last-minute interviews.

LinkedIn has two features that may be particularly useful for journalists. LinkedIn's new mobile profile launched on July 28, and its publishing platform for long-form posts is being rolled out to members.

"Your new profile helps you tell your story to other professionals when they're looking for you on the go," Charlton Soesanto, LinkedIn's mobile product manager, says in a blog post. "You'll also enjoy discovering new insights about other professionals with the 'in common' and endorsements sections we added."

Mobile profile

LinkedIn has six apps: LinkedIn for Phone and iPad, also known as the flagship app; LinkedIn Connected, LinkedIn Job Search, LinkedIn Pulse, LinkedIn Recruiter and SlideShare.


The new mobile profile, which is available on the flagship app, can help a reporter find sources as well as gather background information about them. The profile highlights commonalities such as having the same connections or alma mater.

The insights are "great icebreakers" when meeting someone for the first time, Soesanto says in a phone interview.

The insights also can make conversations between journalists and public relations professionals smarter, says Krista Canfield, senior manager in corporate communications at LinkedIn. "I'm a Newhouse alum so I find Syracuse Oranges in the media business. For me to be able to bring that up at the top of the conversation kicks it off in a completely different way than if we go straight to business."

The mobile profile also can help a reporter put her best face forward. A professional profile may make people feel more comfortable reaching out with news tips or story ideas as well as returning calls or emails.

The new profile comes at a time when more people are using LinkedIn. Professionals sign up for LinkedIn at a rate of more than two new members per second, the company says. The network already has a wide reach, with more than 313 million members in over 200 countries and territories.

Among online adults, about 22 percent are LinkedIn users, according to a survey from the Pew Research Center's Internet Project.

About 43 percent of LinkedIn member-only unique visitors come through mobile. "At the end of this year, we're going to hit a mobile moment -- that's when we're going to surpass 50 percent of traffic coming to LinkedIn using a mobile device," says Tomer Cohen, head of the mobile product team at LinkedIn.

Long-form posts

Passing the microphone to members, LinkedIn is opening the floor for people to chime in and stand out on professional topics. The long-form posts were previously available to only LinkedIn Influencers, people who were invited to publish on the network.

When a member gets access to the publishing platform for long-form posts, a pencil icon will appear in the share box of her homepage. The posts will appear in her profile and will be shared with connections and followers, according to an overview.

With LinkedIn's publishing platform, a reporter can write stories outside her beat.

"There are a lot of journalists publishing on LinkedIn," Canfield says. "They aren't necessarily writing stories that are part of their beat. They are writing stories about the newspaper industry."

With more features like these at your fingertips, you don't have to wait for opportunity to knock.

First Published: September 03, 2014