Call it the little startup that could: SourceRise, a two-person website that’s only a year old, surprised even its founder when it recently nabbed The Global Editors Network’s best media startup prize.
Based in New York, SourceRise acts as a matchmaker for journalists and expert NGO sources all over the world.
Founder and CEO Caroline Avakian got the idea for this service after returning from NGO work in Kenya, where the streets of Nairobi were rife with protests after what some said was a rigged election. She and a group of coworkers had detailed information about the issue, but no idea of how to get a hold of the right reporter to write about it.
So Avakian created a service aimed at empowering both parties: connecting journalists with expert, on-the ground sources and allowing NGOs to reach the media more effectively than press releases and pricey PR agencies.
The result is a powerful (and free) PR tool for non-profits and a vital resource for reporters.
SourceRise is “forging a new path for foreign and crisis news reporting” by opening a door that, for years, has been gradually closing between the media and expert sources in the developing world.
With the closure of foreign news desks and the slashing of international travel budgets for journalists, this tool attempts to bridge that gap—sometimes literally—by pointing journalists to organizations that can host them in the areas they want to report on.
Her process is simple: she requires a LinkedIn profile for the NGO’s communications representatives and published work samples from journalists. “Say you want to write about South Sudan, the unrest or women’s empowerment issues,” she says. “Put in a query, and we can put you in touch with humanitarian workers there.”
Her goal is to keep “otherwise forgotten humanitarian crises and disasters in the news cycle” and increase the number of well-researched, compelling global news stories in mainstream media.
At the moment, SourceRise is available in beta with a full roll-out expected for fall.