Over at The Awl today, Choire Sicha wondered: who’s messing with the Twitter of helpareporter.com, a service that helps reporters find sources for stories they’re working on? @helpareporter was tweeting unlikely things like the following:
Some light digging revealed that the tweets were from David Moye, Weird News reporter for the Huffington Post. Moye, whose HuffPo bio says that he “plays AC/DC on the ukulele and does psychic readings for B-grade celebrities,” isn’t trying to use HARO in jest, but because his stories are simply so weird he needs extra help finding people to comment on them.
“I do weird news and that means I need experts who can comment on things,” Moye told us. “Sometimes the story is so weird you want to have somebody corroborate it.”
Moye is “inclined to use Twitter” to find sources for stories like “Rinku Devi, Indian Woman With Two Wombs, Gives Birth To Twins (PHOTOS)” and “Carnivorous Nepenthes Plant Gobbles Blue Tit In Somerset, England” (not as explicit as it sounds). So, mystery solved! No one is pranking Help a Reporter. There’s just a lot of weird news out there.
By the way, if you’re wondering how to define “weird news”: “A good weird news story raises your eyebrow or makes your jaw drop,” Moye said. “It
makes your heart drop, or your stomach turn, or, you know, parts that are lower affects the heart, the gut, and parts lower.” (Moye asked if we could clarify this quote: “there’s a certain rhythm in the way I say it.”)