By DAVID FURONES
Many aspiring University of Miami journalists find the hunt for experts on a particular subject to be a never-ending struggle, but the fact of the matter is, mostly all the experts a student journalist needs to interview for their stories are located within a half-a-mile radius right here on campus.
The UM website offers an extensive directory of expert sources that can collectively cover virtually any research a particular story requires. The page catches the reader’s attention with the easy-to-find links to experts on “hot topics” that are currently trending among what is being researched by University of Miami students as well as what has received expansive coverage in mass media. Among the options currently listed in this section are climate change experts, Cuba experts, hurricane experts, and wartime experts.
As we are already in the midst of autumn and dipping into the winter and with hurricane season still in full swing, it’s obvious why climate change and hurricanes would be trending topics of concern. Cuba is also a subject that will generally always be at the forefront of the University of Miami’s attention due to its proximity to the nearby island and the large population of Cuban immigrants in the Miami-Dade County area. And wartime answers seemingly constantly appear to be in great demand with the level of research interest involved in the topic ever since the war in Iraq commenced in the early 2000s.
Once a researcher clicks on one of the “hot topic” links, he or she is forwarded to a list of experts (oftentimes professors that teach courses in their field of expertise). The list will include the expert’s name, their specific specialties within the broader topic, a compact quasi-résumé, and contact information. The site will even indicate if the expert speaks Spanish for the bilingual news organizations in the diverse South Florida region. It’s truly remarkable how many experts one can find in this directory and how much the website narrows them down to your specific need and facilitates the contact aspect of the interviewing process.
The University of Miami’s experts listings, of course, are not restricted to the aforementioned four “hot topics.” Listed on the right-hand sidebar to these topics are equally extensive listings on political experts, environmental experts, health care experts, legal issue experts, and experts on Haiti.
The site also grants its researchers phone numbers to call for medical sources at the Miller School of Medicine, sports information sources, and the Media Relations Office for anything else the prospective journalists at the University of Miami may need.