by Lauren Linscheid, Senior Client Services Representative
Journalists, public relations professionals and communicators turned up for Business Wire’s media roundtable discussion in Portland, OR last month. Each attendee was able to spend 15-minute sessions with four out of the seven media representatives in attendance; many joked it was like speed dating with reporters. Participants were able to ask questions directly to journalists, and journalists gave insight into how their days are planned and unfold.
The media representatives included (pictured L-R below):
Michelle Brence, Investigative/Enterprise Editor, The Oregonian
Nick Bradshaw, Assignment Manager, KATU News
Rick Turoczy, Editor, Silicon Florist
Eve Epstein, Managing Editor, OPB News
Matt Kish, Reporter, Portland Business Journal
Tamara Hellman, Assignment Editor, KOIN Local 6 News
R. Bruce Williams, Assignment Editor, KGW NewsChannel 8
Angie Galimanis - Vice President, Lane PR
A few tips from the journalists:
- Newsrooms hold daily editorial meetings; learn when they are, and try to call before they happen. You’re more likely to get discussed during the meeting.
- TRANSPARENCY! This word echoed throughout the event. Be clear, straightforward and transparent. If you’re not, you will be ignored.
- Mention your competitors; acknowledging your competition saves the reporter a step (see transparency).
- Build relationships, and don’t reach out to a reporter only when you have something to pitch.
- Email, but do NOT include attachments. Attachments clog email systems.
- Journalists receive anywhere from 50-500 pitches daily, therefore be very brief and to the point. The subject line should be incredibly compelling and direct. Always follow up after sending your pitch, but don’t be obsessive.
- Think like a reporter. What makes a good story? Sure your company may have sold five million widgets, but how does that affect the local community?
- Put links in your press releases.
- Do your homework. Learn what each organization wants, and what news each reporter or assignment editor covers.
- Embargoes are still honored. Reporters want the exclusive.
- Staffing at newspapers, TV and radio stations continues to decline. Journalists often have a hand in every aspect of a story. Only the most compelling stories will receive follow-up.
- VISUAL, VISUAL, VISUAL! TV, online & print media want photos and videos. Each media outlet has a preference as far as what content they will use. One wants you to send your photos, while the next would prefer to shoot their own.
- Local viral videos and trends on social media can turn into a news story. Reporters often tweet about a story that is still in process.
- Because of deadlines and prioritizing, some stories will post online and not make it to print or the news hour.
The overwhelming themes were relationships and transparency. If you build relationships and are straightforward with the media, you are more likely to be viewed as a reliable source. It is not enough to blast out your story; you have to engage with the people you want to cover that story.
Business Wire thanks all our guests, the journalists and moderator for making this a fantastic event. Also, thanks to Lela Gradman at Nereus for writing about the event from the PR perspective.
Business Wire/Seattle is currently in the process of planning an event for the Seattle area. If you have topic or speaker suggestions, please email them to Lauren.Linscheid@businesswire.com. And make sure to look for other upcoming local events and webinars on our events calendar.