how do you find / hire a researcher (for a freelance project)?
November 21, 2013 9:05 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for one or more professionals to find interesting moments in the history of one of the detroit car makers. someone who can i.e. provide me with information out of which I can make interesting "on this day in 1952, this happened" articles. how should I go about finding the right person for this project?

to give you another example, let's assume I have an ancient picture of a celebrity standing next to one of their cars. the question I would have would be "when/where was this picture taken and what was the story around it? is there more interesting stuff like this?" or imagine being confronted with a request like "find something that happened with this company in the first week of december of any year they existed."

websites like uclue seem to provide quality but fairly brief answers. I need more in-depth results with plenty of images, clippings, etc. — I need someone to invest actual time in this and be competent enough to find intriguing information by themselves. and yes, I do have a budget to pay for this. I just don't know where to find the right people.

caveat: I am in shanghai and I have to work online with someone on this project. I cannot bring in a full-time employee here.
posted by krautland to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Metafilter jobs?
posted by oceanjesse at 9:12 PM on November 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

There are plenty of automotive writers here in Detroit that I'm sure could help you out. It may depend on which car company you're looking to research.

I (almost) hesitate to suggest it, but perhaps Craigslist detroit might be a good place to run a want ad.

If the company is GM, PM me and I can prolly come up with a couple names.
posted by bricksNmortar at 9:17 PM on November 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Benson Ford Research Center does research. you might also try the Detroit CL under writing or gigs.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:32 PM on November 21, 2013

This was part of my work as a journalist. A lot of journalists and ex-journos are looking for work on freelancing sites and on Craigslist right now.
posted by third word on a random page at 11:23 PM on November 21, 2013

History grad students have tons of experience searching archives, and have a nose for interesting stories. I'd get in touch with the history department at a local university.
posted by nerdfish at 1:03 AM on November 22, 2013

There are websites like Elance and Odesk that are designed for this exact situation -- a remote freelance research role. You can post your role and budget, and view testimonials and work history before hiring someone.
posted by rollick at 3:18 AM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

My son is a sophomore history major and got himself published at age 17 based on volunteer research he was doing for the National Park Service. Honestly, an experienced journalist from the Auto industry is probably your best bet, but if it turns out that your budget is probably going to require a college kid ping me and I can see if he is interested.
posted by COD at 5:54 AM on November 22, 2013

An MLS or archives grad student would probably be a good bet. Try contacting an administrator at a few programs. Most of them have a listserv for potential job openings, etc. and would likely pass the information on.
posted by pizzaslut at 8:42 AM on November 22, 2013

If you feel like crowdsourcing it, look on Facebook for fan pages about Detroit or cars or celebrities or whatever and post a picture there. I've had good luck with that for far more informal research -- "Here's a building with a car outside. What kind of car is it and when was it made?" -- and found out a ton of ephemeral information.

There is also Historypin, which probably has a couple of Detroit sections.
posted by vickyverky at 10:47 AM on November 22, 2013

I would actually second craigslist. There are people (like me,a writer) all over the country who check CL for many cities.

Also ask for recs at libraries and museums. A friend works at a photo archive and someone like that would certainly have the skills and resources.
posted by mermaidcafe at 2:16 PM on November 22, 2013

Have you tried to contact:

The Henry Ford Museum
The Detroit Historical Society

As a Detroiter, they get my seal of approval.
posted by Shouraku at 5:09 PM on November 22, 2013

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