By: Cecile Oreste, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/DC
On Tuesday, November 16th, public relations professionals and other members of the communications industry gathered at B. Smith’s in Washington, DC for Capitol Communicator’s “Meet the New Media” event. The media panel, moderated by Mopwater PR founder Amanda Miller Littlejohn, included:
- V. Dion Haynes, Managing Editor, Capital Business
- Jennifer Nycz-Conner, Reporter, Washington Business Journal
- Mike Schaffer, Editor, Washington City Paper
- Edwin Warfield, Publisher, Citybizlist.com
- Erik Wemple, Editor, TBD
Several attendees were live tweeting the event. To follow the discussion and to add to the conversation, look for tweets with the hashtag #NewMediaDC in Twitter Search.
After providing a brief overview of their respective media outlets, each panelist contributed their thoughts on a variety of topics: social media and journalism, do’s and don’ts of pitching and the impact of mobile devices among others. The main takeaways from the discussion were the importance of building relationships with reporters and knowing the publication you’re pitching.
In regards to relationship building, Jennifer Nycz-Conner of the Washington Business Journal said she has developed professional relationships through Twitter. At times, it’s actually faster to reach her through Twitter rather than traditional forms of communication like e-mail or phone. She also joked that the newsroom has officially started the tally of news releases starting with “It’s that time of year again.” She suggested finding a different lead unless you want to be grouped with the others.
Michael Schaffer of Washington City Paper said that we date ourselves by asking how journalists use social media in their news gathering. He added that reporters will more than likely take advantage of these tools unless they’re not curious at all. When it comes to pitching the Washington City Paper, he suggests reaching out to individual journalists rather than going straight for the editor. “It’s a better percentage game working the reporters,” he said.
According to Erik Wemple of TBD, the media outlet was founded on social media responsiveness. Mandy Jenkins, the site’s Social Media Producer, not only engages the community through Facebook and Twitter, but also monitors these social media networks looking for trends and news tips. Wemple recommends starting your e-mail pitch with a reference to a story the journalist has written. This shows you read the publication and have some knowledge of what the reporter writes about.
Dion Haynes of Capital Business echoed Wemple’s point noting that a reference to one of his stories in a recent pitch caught his attention. For Haynes, it’s not only important to get to know the publication, but also to learn about the person you are pitching. Journalists are people too. They have their own personal lives and interests, he said.
Edwin Warfield of Citybizlist talked about the reciprocal relationship between public relations and journalism. According to Warfield, Citybizlist will take any news release that is local, literate and about business. Gathering information from a multitude of sources is important to carry out Citybizlist’s mission of delivering breaking local news.
Capitol Communicator serves as a resource to the communications community of the Mid-Atlantic region. In addition to providing industry news, Capitol Communicator provides professional development opportunities and educational events. For more information about Capitol Communicator, please visit www.capitolcommunicator.com.