Archive for August 7th, 2009

Digital-Age Media Relations: Pitching Stories in a Challenging News Environment

Guest article! Christina Zola wrote the piece below based on her notes from what must have been a fantastic public brainstorming session this past July 29th. Sponsored by the Progressive Communicators of DC and facilitated by Massey Media’s Sarah Massey, the discussion included dozens of DC-area media-relations experts and focused on the reality of promoting ideas and causes in a press environment upended by technological and social change.

Christina’s article provides a comprehensive overview of the event and a great source of ideas for the broader communications community, but it’s also a snapshot, freezing a moment in a evolving communications landscape. Thanks to all involved for allowing the rest of us to enjoy it.

Pitching Stories in a Challenging News Environment

By Christina Zola

The big question: what does the slow death of free media mean to communicators?

Relationships with the Media

  • Close relationships with reporters are valuable, but less so than before the shakeup — layoffs, downsizing, reorganizing means many of the writers we counted on to get our stories out are no longer working our beat — or working in journalism at all.
  • Reaching out to reporters we know is still valuable. Even if they don’t get back to us, their colleagues often do.
  • It’s just as hard to pitch to broadcasting as it is to print media. Now, we have to be more aggressive to get a hit, and have to go after more targets to get a hit. Anticipate the work taking more time than it used to.
  • Cultivate your list. Know how your reporters like to be contacted, and keep in touch.
  • Personal is still important, but with the shakeups, it’s not crucial.

(more…)

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