Milwaukee Media Discuss Pitching Tips and Media Relations Best Practices

July 12, 2011

by Raschanda Hall, Global Media Relations Manager, and Matt Blouin, Account Executive, Business Wire Chicago

Business Wire Chicago recently hosted a luncheon featuring top Milwaukee media at Milwaukee’s Newsroom Pub. Panelists offered tips on creating pitches that generate interest.

(L-R) Mark Maley (Patch.com), Bob Helbig (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel), Kathy Mykleby (WISN-TV) & moderator Raschanda Hall (BW Chicago)

Kathy Mykleby, News Anchor/Reporter at WISN-TV, along with Bob Helbig, Deputy Business Editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and Mark Maley, Milwaukee Regional Editor for Patch.com shared their insights regarding what it takes for a story pitch to be successful.  Raschanda Hall, Business Wire’s Global Media Relations Manager, moderated the panel.

Great crowd at the Newsroom Pub!

Below are some of the key takeaways from our panelists:

  • Local Content is King.  There is no real answer to “what is news” and no real definition to “newsworthy.”  Being interesting or clever can help.  Tailor the news to a specific area, giving it a local angle.  The ultimate goal is to serve the interests of  readers.  Look at yourself as a reader.
  • Social networking sites provide leads and promotional opportunities.  Reporters are constantly gathering information from Twitter and other social media sites.  They are especially interested in following people and organizations relevant to their jobs. Maley says his regional Patch.com editors rely heavily on Twitter to find and promote stories.  Mykleby says social media is great but we sometimes forget that success lies in building relationships.
  • The higher the resolution the better. Visuals are important to the layout of news stories.  Always make sure to provide quality, high resolution photos.  Even if multimedia is not used right away, it is typically kept on file.  Helbig admits that years ago the Journal Sentinel would never think of using outside photos but now it is much more common.
  • Attachments are okay, but… if you will be attaching something in an email, explain what is in the attachment in the body of the email.  Better yet says Helbig, include the attached press release in the body of the email too.  This serves two purposes.  He can read it right away and forward or print a clean version for filing or sharing with a colleague.
  • Social Media Release or Traditional does not matter — just keep it short.  The format of a press release is less important than the length.  Whenever possible, try to keep the release to no more than one page, and be sure to include contact information.  Mykleby says if she or one of her producers at WISN-TV needs more information they will ask for it.
  • Email is the preferred method of contact if the matter is not urgent.  An occasional follow up phone call is acceptable.  Be straightforward as time is precious and staff may be limited.  Helbig says he gets several dozen emails an hour.  The subject line and first sentence of an email might be all that is viewed.
  • Make sure your website is journalist-friendly.  Have a high quality website with as much information as possible for reporters to access.  Contact information, pictures and company descriptions are all useful. Mykleby says when she’s researching, Google, press releases and company websites all are important.

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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