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France, the UK and Germany are just some of the European countries that will be holding general elections in 2017, so reporters have to research thoroughly to ensure their coverage will reflect a range of backgrounds and opinions.

But if travelling abroad for an interview or a feature on voter concerns and expectations isn’t an option, how can journalists find sources in their local area?

Paul Bradshaw, who runs the MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism at Birmingham City University, has written a post on his Online Journalism Blog on finding local sources using Facebook Graph, a tool that locates people based on their interests.

He explains how journalists can use the tool’s URL field and Facebook ID number of individuals to search nearby, and highlights the importance of going beyond the first few pages of results to find people you aren’t already connected to.

And if you become worried by “how much Facebook knows about you”, Bradshaw’s tutorial also includes a link to a guide from the Electronic Freedom Foundation on protecting your privacy on Facebook Graph.

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