By this point in time, every reporter has probably tried to reach out to some potential source via Twitter. It’s awkward, and often if the subject is of interest to you they’re probably inundated with other requests.
A quick search today of the phrase “reporter” & “reach” turned up examples of how most of us go about it today:
Not to mention exposed. What if you want to reach someone without tipping off your competition? What if you don’t want to put all your contact information out there day in and day out? What if you’re trying to reach a bunch of people — you look like a spam bot with tweet after tweet after tweet of the same thing. Plus, it gives off the “he’s just not that into me vibe” to potential sources.
In an ideal world, you’d be able to see their email address or other contact information and take the convo off Twitter where it belongs. That’s not happening. But Twitter recently made a subtle change to direct messages that over time should be good for journalists. You can direct message people who aren’t following you back.