Local Bureau, National Media: Four Major Outlets Tell PR Professionals How to Get Their Attention

May 9, 2012

by Andrea Gillespie, Account Executive, Business Wire Chicago

With Chicago being the third largest media market in the US, many national media contacts call The Windy City home. Whether their beat is the entire Midwest or specific industry groups, knowing who’s who in the Chicago national media scene can earn you more placements. In April, Business Wire hosted some of these national news gatekeepers to learn what types of pitches stand out and how to get national attention for your company or client.

Cheryl Corley, National Desk Correspondent, NPR

Based in NPR’s Chicago Bureau, Cheryl Corley travels primarily throughout the Midwest, covering issues and events from Ohio to South Dakota as a National Desk reporter.

Pitch tips:
  • Cheryl is interested in stories that have a national or at least a broad Midwestern scope.  If a story is too focused on one specific state or city, she will refer the person to the local station.
  • Because of the radio format, she is not as interested in video. Adding still photography is helpful to create interest in your pitch, but no attachments.
  • The librarians for NPR are frequently called upon by NPR correspondents to do research for stories, so they are good contacts to have. They regularly scour and post queries to social media sites for experts.
Jason Dean, Chicago Bureau Chief, The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires

Jason Dean oversees coverage of subjects including economic, political and cultural developments in the Midwest; national education issues; the agriculture and foods business; the airline and aerospace industries; and key financial exchanges.

Pitch tips:
  • Jason prefers personal pitches – just plugging his name into an email that went to a large group of people doesn’t fool him.
  • He also suggests doing research to identify which WSJ/Dow Jones reporter covers your industry. The Chicago Bureau does not cover all Chicago companies. For example, Chicago tech companies are covered by the San Francisco bureau.
  • Pitch visuals. With every story they cover, they consider what type of video component can be added to it. While they prefer to shoot their own video, it’s helpful to include a link to b-roll or your spokesperson in action in your pitch. He requests links only – no attachments.

Andy Fies, Producer, ABC News

Great crowd at the BW Chicago event!

Andy Fies is one of two producers based in ABC’s Midwest Bureau covering stories for World News with Diane Sawyer,Good Morning America, Nightline and ABCNews.com. His primary area of responsibility is news of national interest from the nation’s heartland.
Pitch tips:
  • Andy is interested in covering stories from all Midwestern companies, but he is mostly drawn to those that show how people on the street are being affected. They want to put a personal view into every story they cover.
  • As ABC recently merged with Yahoo! News, consider the digital version of your story. This means photos and visuals of your story are necessary.
Greg Stricharchuk, Editor, Sunday Business Section, The Chicago Tribune

As an editor in the business news section, Greg Stricharchuk works with reporters and helps conceptualize and edit their stories. He’s also specifically responsible for the Sunday business section.

Pitch tips:
  • While you can copy Greg on your pitches to reporters, it’s best to read the paper and know who writes about your topic. Pitch them directly first.
  • Greg is mainly interested in publicly held companies – not so much private companies or organizations, unless they are starting an industry trend or obtaining significant funding.
  • Don’t pitch experts 2-3 days after a story breaks. Oftentimes, stories are starting to form days before the actual news breaks. Get your expert pitches to the appropriate editor before that happens.
  • Remember that the Tribune is comprised of six newspapers, online sites and TV stations. Pitches that show how the story can cross all mediums are typically well-received.
Thanks again to all of our clients and the communications professionals who were able to join us.
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 #bwchat.

San Francisco Disclosure Experts Discuss Guidance, Social Media in Today’s IR Landscape

June 25, 2009

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Business Wire San Francisco hosted a breakfast event June 11 at the historic Palace Hotel, where more than 30 area investor relations and media relations professionals gathered for a panel discussion on the most relevant and timely issues in corporate disclosure and investor relations.

The event, titled “An Investor Relations Survival Guide: IR Strategies for the New Age of Corporate Transparency and Accountability,” focused on a discussion of the changing regulatory environment, including how different companies deal with the issue of earnings guidance, compliance challenges and social media’s place in the IR landscape. It was part of Business Wire’s Spring Investor Relations Conference Series, which has also included events in New York and Boston.

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Don Clark (far left), Deputy Bureau Chief, Wall Street Journal moderated a panel of disclosure experts and thought leaders, including (from left to right):

Among the key points discussed:

  • When discussing earnings releases, Mr. Clark identified comparisons as his pet peeve. Everything the media does is about comparing what happened to what happened in the past. He said it’s amazing how often companies will report the “net income of this or that,” but won’t have the comparison. Then the media has to dig to see the earnings drop. Mr. Clark thinks that everyone can see right through that because it’s obvious when a company is doing well since they’ll crow about it in the first sentence.
  • Mr. Schrader noted that the issue of confirming guidance is extremely sensitive and ambiguous. Once a company has issued earnings guidance, can they communicate with analysts to confirm later that the guidance is still current? Mr. Schrader believes confirming guidance is selective disclosure. Even though there’s a school of thought that says that if what you confirm is within what you’ve already put out, it’s already out in the marketplace anyway, to him, it’s a very risky policy. He believes the SEC will take action on this issue in the near future.
  • Commenting on using social media for IR communications, Mr. Hughes notes that, in his opinion, platforms like blogging make more sense on the corporate communications side. He believes financial information is too delicate to put on blogs. Additionally, because one of the great struggles in investor relations is getting investors to see the long-term business cycle and strategy, he isn’t sure that social media platforms, built for instantaneous communication, supports that goal.
  • Mr. Jelter says there’s too much “noise” in earnings releases. He says the best practice to have is to keep it simple and keep it clean. He listed what he likes to see clearly reported: “Net earnings, net loss, operating revenue, operating loss and guidance.” As Mr. Jelter put it, “write for your Aunt Virginia.” Make your release accessible and don’t bog down in a lot of terminology.
  • Mr. Schuman notes that Intel does not like using PDF for disseminating earnings releases. HTML is much more accessible, particularly with mobile devices.

Local Business Wire offices host several events each year on PR, IR, SEO & media topics.  Check out the Business Wire Events page to find upcoming events in your area.

Follow Business Wire events on Twitter! Hash tag #bwevents


Upcoming Business Wire Events – June 10 Edition

June 10, 2009

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Join Business Wire experts in your area for media breakfasts, panel discussions and other insightful events. We bring local media members and industry thought leaders to your market to discuss today’s most relevant topics, from writing for SEO to marketing with social media. Best of all, Business Wire events are usually free of charge. Check out some of our upcoming events in your area:

An Investor Relations Survival Guide: IR Strategies for the New Age of Corporate Transparency and Accountability

Hosted by Business Wire San Francisco

Today’s financial crisis is certain to lead to greater corporate disclosure and accountability standards. Ironically, the definition of transparency itself has become muddied as a result of considerable — and often deliberate — misinformation in the marketplace. This Business Wire Spring Investor Relations Conference Series event will focus on the changing regulatory environment, the role of technology in investor outreach, revisiting Regulation FD, and the compliance challenges ahead. Don Clark, Deputy Bureau Chief, Wall Street Journal will moderate a panel of disclosure experts and thought leaders, including Jim Jelter, Corporate News Editor, MarketWatch; Peter Schuman, Manager, Investor Relations, Intel; Stephen Schrader, Partner, Baker & McKenzie LLP; and Alex Hughes, Director of IR, Dolby Labs. This event is free for Business Wire members and $15 for non-members.

Thursday, June 11 at 8:30am PST
The Palace Hotel
2 New Montgomery Street, French Parlor Room, Second Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105
To register: RSVP to Sandy Donnelly at sandy.donnelly@businesswire.com with the subject line: “Media Breakfast: An Investor Relations Survival Guide” or call 415.986.4422 x561

Crafting an Effective Press Release: A One-on-One with Bloomberg

Hosted by Business Wire Toronto

As journalists become increasingly inundated with news and information, it is vital to understand and leverage the effectiveness of a well crafted press release to maximize your coverage in the news. Join Business Wire Toronto and Bloomberg News for a one-on-one with Bloomberg Bureau Chief David Scanlan. Mr. Scanlan and his editorial team will share their valuable insights about what it takes to help your press release stand out amongst the thousands of others that cross the wire every day. This event is free for all attendees.

Thursday, June 25 at 2pm ET
43rd Floor, Brookfield Place, 161 Bay Street, Toronto, ON M5J 2T3‎
To register: RSVP by Tuesday, June 15 to Rhianna Padamsey at Rhianna.Padamsey@BusinessWire.com

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.

Follow Business Wire events on Twitter! Hash tag #bwevents


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