ProfNet Launches Service to Link Reporters and Expert Sources in Africa

ProfNet, PR Newswire's online service that enables reporters to connect with expert sources across thousands of news topics, has added 21 South African colleges and universities to its network and is now prepared to rapidly expand the service throughout the continent, PR Newswire announced today.


Established as one of the world's first Internet-based resources for reporters in 1993, ProfNet ( today allows reporters to query 4,000 colleges, universities, corporations and other organizations in North America and Europe. ProfNet relays queries from more than 100 reporters daily to its international network of public relations officers and also offers reporters a database with more than 10,000 expert profiles created and maintained by public relations officers.

Among the 21 South African institutions that reporters may now query via ProfNet are the University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch University, Rhodes University and the University of the Witwatersrand, said Dan Forbush, ProfNet's founder and president.

As the first African institution to join the network in the mid-1990s, Rhodes University has played a pivotal role in ProfNet's development through the "Highway Africa" conference hosted annually by its Department of Journalism and Media Studies, Forbush noted.

"African reporters now have a way to reach beyond their traditional sources for expert commentary," noted Guy Berger, head of Rhodes' Department of Journalism and Media Studies. "The fact that ProfNet verifies the expert's credentials is key. The system puts them in touch with experts in their own countries as well as opens the door to accessing top minds around the world."

The University of Cape Town also is assisting by hosting two interns this summer from Colgate University in the U.S. Working with ProfNet staff and UCT's public relations department, the students -- Courtney Hostetler, a senior from Portsmouth, RI, and Jareau Hall, a sophomore from Syracuse, NY -- will assist in registering and profiling African public relations professionals and experts. Colgate is jointly funding the internships with ProfNet as an extension of its study-abroad programs.

"As Colgate's rich array of college-sponsored study-abroad programs demonstrates, we value international experience in this global age," said Rebecca Chopp, Colgate's president. "ProfNet has expanded those opportunities by offering these students a rare internship in South Africa. We know that ProfNet stands to benefit, as well, through the efforts of two of our finest students. As longtime members of ProfNet, we at Colgate know the importance of this service to both colleges and the media. It is gratifying to see the service expand, and to have our students involved in that expansion."

In cooperation with the World Free Press Institute (WFPI), ProfNet will offer African reporters and news organizations convenient links to experts in free press issues, newspaper management, economic reporting, investigative reporting, and creating successful newspapers in emerging democracies. The institute has conducted professional development workshops for 400 reporters in Africa with the assistance of grants from the United Nations, the Ford Foundation, and the Eurasia Foundation, said Clayton Haswell, WFPI president.

About PR Newswire Association LLC

PR Newswire Association LLC ( provides electronic distribution, targeting and measurement services on behalf of some 40,000 customers worldwide who seek to reach the news media, the investment community and the general public with their up to the minute, full-text news developments. Established in 1954, PR Newswire has offices in fourteen countries and routinely sends its customers' news to outlets in 135 countries in 27 languages. Utilizing the latest in communications technology, PR Newswire content is considered a mainstay among news reporters and investors as well as increasing numbers of private individuals. PR Newswire is a subsidiary of United Business Media plc of London.

About United Business Media Plc

United Business Media plc ( is a leading provider of business-to-business media solutions. Its products and services help companies around the world to meet their market information needs. UBM's businesses include NOP World, one of the largest market research groups globally; PR Newswire, the world's leading corporate news distribution service and CMP, the B2B media and exhibition group operating in focused markets sectors such as hi-tech, healthcare, property, entertainment, jewelry & fashion in the US, UK, Asia and Europe.


SOURCE: PR Newswire Association LLC

CONTACT: Rachel Asche, Director, Public Relations of PR Newswire,
office: +1-212-282-1929 or fax: +1-212-596-1506