Public Insight Network

Minnesota Public Radio championed a form of “crowd-sourcing” — harnessing the power of the internet to sift viable information from large numbers of people — by creating PIJ – Public Insight Journalism.

The project has since expanded to many stations and is now called Public Insight Network, operated by MPR’s parent, American Public Media.

Here’s how they describe it in action:

Every day, sources in the Public Insight Network add context, depth, humanity and relevance to news stories at trusted newsrooms around the country.

American Public Media provides journalists with the tools and training to tap our growing Network of sources, engage their own audiences, and produce high-quality journalism.

Using our industry-leading platform, journalists and citizens reach beyond pundits, PR professionals and polemics to inform themselves and each other, strengthening the communities they serve.

Become part of the Public Insight Network »

Thanks to our technology, editors, reporters and producers can quickly find and learn from thousands of people who have experience or knowledge on a story we are covering. We call this the Public Insight Network, and it relies on everyday people — our public sources.

You have knowledge and insights that can help us cover the news in greater depth and uncover stories we might not otherwise find.

Some of our public sources end up in stories on air, in print or online. Others prefer to just help us get at the heart of a story. Nothing you share with us is ever published without your explicit permission. So, please help us create the great stories that make you value the news.

What you can expect by becoming a public source

E-mails asking for your insight on issues we plan to cover — you respond only if you have knowledge, or forward to a friend with relevant experience in the topic.

An occasional follow-up call or e-mail to get more information, if we follow a lead you provide.

Confidentiality: We won’t quote you without your permission See privacy policy.

An open line for you to tell our newsrooms and programs what stories are important to you, your family and your community and help us set our coverage priorities.

An occasional invitation to Public Insight Network meetings in your area.

No spam, marketing calls, or requests for money — your information is private and is not shared outside of a small circle of trusted journalists.

You may be called on to help with national stories through American Public Media programs, such as Marketplace, local newsrooms such as MPR News or partner newsrooms around the country.

Your help will make the news better…

By giving our journalists access to first-person information and sources, new story ideas, a wider range of perspectives and information that helps us identify under-covered or emerging issues.

By broadening our network of sources and strengthening our connections with diverse people nationally and regionally.

By helping us create deeper and more relevant reporting based on a diverse range of sources.


The original director of the project, Michael Skoler, discussed it in Current.

Go to PIJ-Skoler-Current