First. Be clever. But more importantly, be clever in a way that the reporter wants. How do you know what she wants? You don't. So be clever, and lucky, and maybe you'll get your name in the paper.
Back in May, I saw that USA Today had a request for story ideas called "status envy" on how people can post more interesting items on their Facebook and Twitter pages. I emailed this:
When you leave people out of the loop by posting, "now that's what I'm talking about" without letting us know what the hell you're talking about.
Or using microblog slang that I don't understand; or just posting, "watching House." Although "watching White House" might be interesting; or "watching Obama in White House from crawlspace in ceiling" would be really interesting.
and later that day, I had this message from their reporter:
Hello, thanks for message! I'm the reporter working on the Status Envy story and would like to use some of this - can I call you to confirm it's from you and get your details (age, occupation, town you live in, etc.)? If so, please call or email me your contact number.
I didn't believe she was an actual reporter; but phone calls are cheap, so I called her back. Now, here comes the interesting part:
She asked me how old I was, and when I told her just how ancient, she followed with, "Oh, then you're new to all this social networking stuff?"