Whisteblower outreach isn’t a massive trend at the moment but you can bet your sweet PR budgets and all of your future-proof-creativity-labs that, at some point in the not too distant future, you’ll have to sit down with your espionage agency client and map out a strategy for successfully inserting whitsleblowers into their communications plan.
Long gone are they days where you could attempt to court a whistleblower with the guarantee that all of their 200.000 highly declassified documents would be made available to billions of highly agitated bleeding hearts and artists. That’s just reach and reach simply doesn’t cut it anymore for the contemporary whistleblower so you’re going to have to up your damn game.
Obviously, you’ll need to involve international travel arrangements, asylum seeking and the occasional exclusive interview with a politician from the German green party in your outreach pitch.
You should avoid sponsored whistleblowing or asking a whistleblower to blow the whistle on a subject that has no relevance to their particular line of espionage. You should never mass email whistleblowers as they all know each other and will bitch about you behind your back (internal whistleblower outreach whistleblowing). You should also never, ever, promise the potential whistleblower that they’ll never be arrested, assassinated or appear in the Guardian’s data journalism section.
For corporate whistleblower outreach you should consider all of the above as well as the dialectic referral model (shitstorms) to ensure top-of-mind interest and an imaginary R.O.I.
What’s your whistleblower outreach experience? Let us all know in the comments. Actually, don’t.