ICYMI: Meet The Washington D.C. Tech Media

April 3, 2015

By Simon Ogus, Business Wire

As a technology reporter in the digital age, life has become pretty crazy. You are expected to be an early adapter to the new tech toys, be an early adapter and work non-stop in today’s 24/7 news cycle.



Hoping to bridge the gap between the reporter and the PR professional, Business Wire Washington, DC hosted a “Meet the Technology” media panel on focusing on the latest trends in the world of technology reporting.  The panel consisted of five established names in the Washington, DC technology reporting industry and the topics discussed included how reporters utilize social media professionallyhow to effectively organize a pitch and the best ways to get a reporter’s attention in today’s non-stop news cycle.

Paul Sherman, Editor and Publisher of Potomac Tech Wire – @PaulRSherman
Kasra Kangarloo, Reporter, Washington Business Journal – @TechFlashWBJ
Rob Pegoraro – Columnist, Yahoo! Tech – @RobPegoraro
Joseph Marks – Reporter, Politico – @Joseph_Marks_
Hayley Tsuyakama – Reporter, Washington Post – @htsuka

How Reporters Prefer to Be Pitched
The panel began with how reporters can ideally and most efficiently be pitched in the current times. The near unanimous sentiment was that pitching by e-mail was preferred over phone and social media. Paul Sherman flatly said that “phone pitching, while not dead is much rarer these days”.  Every panelists agreed.  Phone calls with pitches often will fall through the cracks as the reporter might not be at their desk or lose track of the phone call or message throughout their busy day.

Photo by Jennifer Dunn

Photo by Jennifer Dunn

Hayley Tsuyakama noted that she liked receiving emails from PR pros “because those pitches can be saved if I am busy, flagged if I want to make sure I see them later and easily searchable through modern e-mail capabilities.” This illustrates a strong point about email, even if they aren’t used immediately, they can be found easily via keyword searches of the e-mail text, subject or sender’s contact information.

But email is not the only way to reach reporters.  When the conversation turned to the role of newswires in the news gathering process, each of the panelists agreed that newswires offer a wide range of benefits over releases pitched directly by the individual company.  Sherman said he “uses Business Wire as a source every day.”  In addition, the speakers noted that newswires are both convenient and a good source of accurate information.

What to include in your pitch
Knowing how to pitch a reporter also immensely aided by knowing where the reporter gathers news ideas and what kinds of topics and trends they find important. Ultimately a public relations professional may love their own story or find it extremely important, but it is up to the reporter to determine if they want to cover it.  So what is a pitch that will catch a reporter’s eye? Rob Pegoraro said If I can learn something myself and teach my readers at the same time, then I have found a great story to cover.” Reporters are busier than ever trying to uncover impactful story ideas. As Sherman said “competitors are not just other outlets, but social media as well. Anyone is a source now with smartphones, the job is much more competitive in 2015.” So how does this affect the PR professional? Reporter’s time is now more valuable than ever, so getting your message across takes additional strategy and tactics. While the content of your story will be what gets you covered, the panelists did provide a few other ways to catch their attention.

Meet the DC Tech Media

Provide an Expert Marks said “Being able to provide an expert to your pitch is very important, it is great to learn stuff from a pitch that you don’t already know. If your spokesperson has great credentials, feel free to pitch anytime, not just when a breach happens in my cybersecurity reporting.” This is a strong message for all communicators  always try to have an expert at your disposal for technical pitches as they will help to catch the eye of the reporter trying to explain complex content matter.

Be Easy to Find
Additionally Kasra Kangarloo said being active on Twitter is important for communications skills. “It’s easier to find a @twitter profile than an email address, so I may reach out by tweet instead of email.” As well all know Twitter is the main hub of spontaneous communication, so having an active presence could get you that dialogue going with a reporter that could eventually lead to coverage for your client.

Leverage Partners (and don’t forget to include financial data)
The conversation shifted to Kangarloo’s coverage of technology startups and what he looks for in a good new startup to cover for the Business Journal. He had some great advice for anyone trying to get media coverage for a newer startup. He said “Get your name out there, I want to hear you from someone else. Not from yourself, anyone can talk about themselves. Hearing about your startup from someone else will pique my interest.” He also reminded the audience that data such as revenue is key for securing coverage, especially for today’s startups.

Read Your Pitch, First (on a mobile device) 
While the subject matter of the news release is always paramount, the panel did mention some tips on best practices to get them interested in a story.  Pegoraro Reminded the audience that most reporters work off mobile devices and suggested PR professionals read their pitch on their own mobile device to ensure the most salient points appear at the top of the device.

As the discussion came to a close there was an interesting question from the audience about what defines journalistic success in 2015. Lots of outlets strictly look at click-rates which often times leads to stories that perhaps aren’t the most informed content on the web. The reporters responded honestly and the majority said they were very aware of their analytics for their stories and that plays a major role in how their performance has been, but there is more to the process. Pegoraro said “making readers smart is a focus of journalistic success in additional to analytics.” This tweet from the event also goes on to say what additional words were said on the topic.

Journalism today has changed.  Reporters are expected to do more, in less time.  Crafting interesting pitches, tailored to each media outlet’s needs and utilizing smart distribution methods will help you increase your coverage and overall visibility.  For additional commentary on this discussion please check out the hashtag #bwchat.

DC-Area Tech Journalists Offer Pitching Tips

October 1, 2010

by Cecile Oreste, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/DC

Business Wire/DC hosted a “Meet the Technology Media” Event at Marriott Tysons Corner in Vienna, Virginia on Wednesday, September 29th.  The panel discussion, moderated by Cecile Oreste, Media Relations Specialist, featured five technology journalists from some of the area’s top media outlets:

About 120 public relations and communications professionals were in attendance to learn how to increase your organization’s chances of securing media coverage. Attendees joined in the conversation during a question and answer section and also by live tweeting the event using the #BWEvents hash tag.

Here are some of the key points from the panel discussion:

  1. Headlines are important. Nick Wakeman said to think about your press release headline as a headline in a newspaper. Just as media outlets compete for readers at the newsstand, public relations professionals must compete for the attention of journalists in their inbox. The headline should tell reporters why they should care. For The Hill, you should have a clear link to politics or policy issues, said Gautham Nagesh.
  2. Include your organization in the e-mail subject. Paul Sherman noted that e-mail subjects are key in a mobile environment. Rob Pegoraro added that including a client and product name in the e-mail subject makes it easier for him to find the message later on.
  3. Know who you’re pitching. Every journalist has his or her own preferences when it comes to being pitched. Paul Sherman noted that he prefers texts over voicemails. Nick Wakeman likes when you follow up your e-mail with a phone call. There is no secret formula to media relations. You just need to do your homework.
  4. Consider your audience. Bill Flook pointed out that the Washington Business Journal reaches two different audiences through its online and print editions. Think about how your story fits in and remember that exclusivity matters for print while immediacy is more important for the web.
  5. Go beyond the pitch. According to Gautham Nagesh, Twitter can be an effective way to generate interest. If his followers are interested in your message, he will be more inclined to pay attention. Rob Pegoraro noted that commenting on articles online is a great way to provide information that was not included in the story. Bill Flook suggests setting up informational interviews with your CEO. Often, meetings like these can result in story ideas.

For more upcoming local Business Wire events or to see what’s coming up in our award-winning webinar series, visit http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/business-wire-events.


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