What’s the best way to pitch your news to media covering the ever-evolving green technology industry?
According to Stephen Lacey, a journalist with Renewable Energy World, you should “think of the journalist as an investor.” Indeed, the media invests time and effort in a company’s endeavors and projects the same way an investor would contribute funding.
This and other questions about the emerging green technology industry in New England and throughout the U.S. were discussed at a Business Wire Boston media breakfast held at the Westin Hotel in Waltham, Mass. on Thursday, Nov. 5. About 75 public relations professionals from across New England attended the event, entitled “GreenTech, CleanTech and Pitching New Energy Technologies.” Participants also collected hats, scarves and mittens for Cradles to Crayons, a Boston-based non-profit organization that distributes goods for children in need.
The panel included media professionals from print, radio and new media, as well as a market analyst to offer a more big-picture perspective. The panelists, working in the renewable energy, green technology, and business spaces included (L to R):
- Andrew Brengle, Senior Research Analyst, KLD Research & Analytics
- Stephen Lacey, Podcast Producer and Editor, Renewable Energy World
- Curt Nickisch, Business and Technology Reporter, WBUR
- Jay Fitzgerald, General Economics Reporter and Blogger, The Boston Herald
Moderating the panel was Susan Vaillancourt, an accomplished PR professional in her own right. Vaillancourt comes from great experience in the industry, having worked with large companies including GT Solar, a world-wide solar technology manufacturing corporation headquartered in Merrimack, NH.
Bottom line of the discussion? The media is most definitely following companies working in biofuels, hydro power, wind and solar energy, and new efficiency technologies – but reporters need something to chew on. Panelists agreed that directing them to a company’s news via an email with a personal touch, including a sentence or two about why the story is important, is generally the best way to get their attention. This gives the journalist the opportunity to filter out their news angle from the press release text. “Sometimes people are sitting on the story and they don’t even know it,” said Fitzgerald.
Also discussed were the wide range of coverage possibilities under the green/clean tech umbrella, including obvious “gee whiz” technologies, consumer product innovations, and new business ventures which have the added benefit of bringing jobs to the New England region.
The panelists also engaged in a discussion about how governmental policy effects the growth and direction of the industry, and how the U.S. stacks up against other world leaders such as China, which Lacey said currently has the largest solar market by far in the world. The consensus was that the U.S. is on the way to the leader board, but further investment and leadership through policy is needed to increase the nation’s clout in the green space.
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