Denver-Area Journalists Discuss Newsroom Cutbacks, Pitching Tips

August 23, 2011

by JoAnne Hirsch, Senior Client Services Representative, Business Wire Denver

Business Wire Denver recently hosted a media breakfast, “Who’s Covering You Now: What Newsroom Cutbacks Mean to Your Company and How to Pitch Stories to a Shrinking Newsroom.”  The media panel discussed the changing landscape, best practices for pitching and the impact of  mobile.


David Sloan
, Account Executive for Business Wire Denver, moderated the panel, which included (L-R):

  • Gil Asakawa, Manager of Student Media, Journalism & Mass Communication, University of Colorado
  • Greg Nieto, News Reporter, FOX31 and KWGN, Channel 2
  • Patrick Doyle, Senior Editor, 5280 Publishing, Inc.

Tight budgets, shrinking newsrooms

Nieto responded to seemingly endless media consolidation by finding a silver lining.  “I have a lot more leeway to bring stories to the table,” he said. “When we have editorial meetings they used to ask for five or six story ideas and that number has probably grown to about 10.”  

Asakawa added that in recent years the Denver Post has shrunk drastically, resulting in reporters  juggling multiple kinds of stories.  One of the biggest changes, he said, has been the PR community’s outreach to social media and individual bloggers.

Know your audience, do your homework

The panel was unanimous in the sage-old advice to PR pros:  despite technology, it’s all about the relationship. “Watch some of the program on TV and see where your topic might fit in,” counseled Nieto.   Doyle requested no attachments in email pitches and Asakawa advised: “Find new hooks and plan new hooks every year so you have something to go to the media with.”

Nieto offered a lesson in selling reporters on your story:  “When I pitch a story I’m already thinking about the hook. What’s going to be the tease? A pitch should be multi-layered.  The more ammunition I have, the better opportunity it’s going to stick and someone in the editorial meeting is going to assign your story.”

Regarding timing, the journalists recommended keeping production schedules and editorial calendars in mind.  A monthly magazine works far in advance, with editorial calendars set a year out. Newspapers have a more timely window.  “You need to know that to get in the Friday section it’s done at most papers by Tuesday,”  said Asakawa.

Mobile technologies a game changer

The panel agreed that mobile is here and the future is uncertain.   “If I’m out on a story they have me shoot a little tease with my Droid that we’ll send to our website,” said Nieto. “Over the past three years there’s been a huge push to write our Web script. I find more and more I get feedback from people who read my scripts from across the country who haven’t viewed the broadcast.  That’s fascinating to me.”

For more upcoming local Business Wire events or to see what’s coming up in our award-winning webinar series, visit our events page or follow Business Wire events on Twitter, hashtag #bwevents.

Upcoming Business Wire Events: Meet the Media in Milwaukee, Discuss Newsroom Cutbacks in Denver

June 20, 2011

Upcoming Business Wire Events

Tips From Top Milwaukee Media: Meet the Media Luncheon

Hosted by Business Wire Chicago (Milwaukee Event)

We all love a scoop. We’re asking top Milwaukee media to give us the scoop on what it takes to catch the attention of their editors, reporters and producers. They will also share advice on why story pitches find success or fall flat. Join our luncheon discussion for the tips you need to have before pitching the three prominent Milwaukee news outlets on our panel: Bob Helbig, Deputy Business Editor, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Kathy Mykleby, News Anchor/Reporter, WISN-TV; President of Milwaukee Press Club; and Mark Maley, Regional Editor – Milwaukee, Patch.com. This event is free for all attendees.

Wednesday, June 22 at 11:30 a.m. CT
Newsroom Pub
137 East Wells Street, Milwaukee, WI 53202

To register: Send an e-mail to Abbie.Sullivan@BusinessWire.com. Seating is limited. We request no more than 2 guests per organization.

Who’s Covering You Now

Hosted by Business Wire Denver

Join Business Wire Denver for breakfast and a panel discussion on what newsroom cutbacks will mean for your company. We’ll cover how to pitch to a shrinking newsroom with a panel of Denver-area experts, including: Greg Nieto, News Reporter for FOX31 and KWGN, Channel 2; Patrick Doyle, Senior Editor at 5280 Publishing, Inc. and Gil Asakawa, Manager of Student Media, Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of Colorado. This event is free for members and $20 for non-members.

Wednesday, June 29 at 8:30 a.m. MT
Denver Athletic Club

1325 Glenarm Place, Denver, CO 80206

To register: Send an e-mail to JoAnne Hirsch at joanne.hirsch@businesswire.com

Business Wire holds dozens of local events every year. We bring local media members and industry thought leaders to your market to discuss today’s most relevant topics, from trends in today’s newsrooms to writing for SEO. Events are usually free of charge to members. For more upcoming local Business Wire events or to see what’s coming up in our award-winning webinar series, visit BusinessWire.com. Follow live updates from Business Wire events on Twitter: hash tag #bwevents


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