Breakfast with the Media

The Public Relations Society of America hosted a morning breakfast featuring a panel of editors and journalists from six major news outlets: CNBC, Bloomberg, USA Today, Forbes, NPR and Telemundo. The panel provided examples of what a day is like in their newsroom, including tips on how to establish and maintain relationships with the media. Below are some sound bites from the presentation to keep in mind when pitching your next story:

  • Relationships with public relations professionals are important. All of the panel members agreed that fostering long-term relationships with PR professionals is important, especially if you help them generate new story ideas or find valuable sources when working under a deadline.
  • If the media is always receiving press releases from you, you’re probably doing it wrong. There are very few things the media hates more than receiving a release or story idea for something they don’t cover. Be sure to review your distribution list carefully and think twice before sending out a mass email.
  • Is the press release the catch-all? In other words, know the publication you are pitching. For financial publications and bloggers, press releases can be a valuable asset packed with useful facts and details. When pitching to broadcast or human interest-driven media, draft an email or pitch that delivers the story, its characters and how it fits into a larger, trending narrative in short bullet points.
  • Insert yourself into the process. The panelists shared several examples where the professional pitching the release had a significant impact on molding the story. If you can catch a journalist or editor on the phone, don’t be afraid to provide your two cents on how you see the story shaping up.
  • Think about what kind of story you actually have. Not all stories are created equal. Be cautious of pushing too hard for a story with minimal reach as to avoid being blacklisted when you actually have something substantial.

Sometimes it helps to take a step back and think about the process of your media efforts rather than the results. If you are thoughtful and respectful in your methods, expect improved feedback from the media.

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