There are a number of third party services for finding contact information online. Most of the time they charge. Doing it the free way typically means physically visiting a county government office and searching on a public terminal, or making a public records request, which isn’t always feasible. Therefore, we’ll suggest a few services but do not take these as endorsements. Services change all the time.

As a journalist, please practice ethical research:

  • Do not stalk people.
  • Do not pretend to be someone you’re not (don’t use fake accounts) unless authorized by your editors/professors.
  • Always represent yourself as a journalist, and be transparent with the fact you’re doing a story that may be published.
  • Practice ethical reporting. Make good choices.

Google Search Operators

You can use Google Advanced search to narrow or filter your Google Search results.

Another way is to use search operators. These are syntax mechanisms to do the same thing directly in a search field.

Put an exact phrase in quotes:

“Berkeley Journalism”

Search for results that are only restricted to a single domain.


Find by filetype:

chevron filetype:pdf

Filter out certain results by using the minus symbol before words.

Richmond -VA -virginia school district

Look up multiple other advanced search operators.

Finding Email Addresses

There are a number of third party services for finding email addresses.

This tutorial was written by Jeremy Rue.