LexisNexis is known to most journalists. But it’s often a little-understood and overlooked tool whose power rests in how well you can master its various functions.
Here, we’ll point out the indispensable “Biographies” search function within LexisNexis.
Because any story’s strength is predicated on sources, it’s important you know the many ways in which you can find a person’s contact information. Long are the days of the phonebook, and not everyone’s contact details are easily discoverable with a simple Google search.
That’s where LexisNexis’ “Biographies” comes into play.
After signing into your LexisNexis account, click the “Biographies” tab on the top.
There are now two ways you can use this feature.
The first, if you have a source’s name (and, even more granularly, the source’s company name), is to simply enter it into the search bars for first and last name.
Depending on the simplicity of the name, this could either bring up a few hits or hundreds. Either way, simply cycle through the various results until you land on one with contact information. You may get either an email or a phone number, or hit the jackpot with both.
If you’re not sure which one is the exact source you’re searching for, be a dogged reporter and reach out to all of them until you get the right one.
The second way to use this feature is to look for sources within a particular organization.
Say, for instance, you wanted to contact former associates of Donald Trump who’ve either previously or are currently working within the Trump Organization.
Below the name tabs, the box in which it says “Additional search terms,” type in “Trump Organization.” This will bring up hundreds of results for individuals who’ve worked/currently work for the company, along with at least some form of contact information.