This is ground I've covered before, but I get these questions on a regular basis and it's worth repeating.
A very nice emailer just asked if I could put her in touch with a designer who was mentioned in a story in this past Sunday's House and Home (H+H) section.
In this particular case, the designer doesn't appear to have a public presence, with no business webpage or phone number in any of the standard directories I have access to.
The Star's policy is not to distribute personal contact information for people mentioned in stories. I will always give out phone numbers and email addresses for Star staff members, though. There is a page of contact information, including a full newsroom staff directory, on KansasCity.com as well.
In cases where the person is identified as associated with a business or other public entity whose contact information is readily available, I'll always help the reader find a phone number or email address.
But when the person is a private citizen or works with an organization that doesn't publicize itself, I can pass the request along to the reporter or editors who worked on the story, and they may be able to forward it along. That's not a sure thing, obviously.
Many readers have been afraid that by writing me, their names and contact information would be made public automatically. I can't stress this enough: I don't do that. I use readers' names only with their permission. And I don't publish email addresses or phone numbers, except in the very rare case when someone might ask me to.