The weather in and around Portland, OR, was anything but tranquil on Thursday, October 24. The dark sky chirped and clapped with wind, hail, thunder and rain. But, try as it might, it could not drown out the roaring chatter coming from inside the Bridgeport Brewery, where six of Portland’s finest journalists and over 50 of Portland’s finest PR professionals gathered to laugh, learn and get to know more about each other.
The luncheon was broken down into four 15-minute sessions. While the media members stayed seated, guests moved from table to table to talk with the four editors/reporters to whom they were most interested in speaking. Representing the Portland media were: Nick Mokey (Managing Editor of Digital Trends); Sarah Rothenfluch (Executive Editor of News at Oregon Public Broadcasting); Erik Siemers (Managing Editor at the Portland Business Journal); Tim Steele (Digital Managing Editor at KOIN 6); Kristi Turnquist (Entertainment Reporter at The Oregonian); and Bruce Williams (Senior Assignment Manager at KGW). The event was expertly moderated by Becky Engel (Director of Client Services at Grady Britton).
The rules were minimal: no pitching. Everything else (within the law) was allowed. Great networking followed and a few tips from the media came forth:
- Networking is key to getting reporters to cover a story … make the effort to meet us in person. We get hit with a lot of stories daily and we’re much more likely to run your story if we have a relationship with you (and the story is innovative/relevant). –Nick Mokey
- It’s good to form relationships with reporters. They’re not going to take every pitch, but if you stay in contact and stay persistent, there will come a day when they’ll need to talk to you. –Tim Steele
- Staying ahead of an emerging trend will get you to be considered an expert on the subject. –Sarah Rothenfluch
- Visual content plays a role so be sure to include multimedia in your pitch. –Kristi Turnquist
- I get between 800-900 emails per day, so make sure your pitch is targeted, has a unique subject line and includes photos/video. – Bruce Williams
- If you’re making a pitch, you have to think of it in terms of what would interest you if you were to receive what you’re pitching. Why would we be interested in it if you’re not? –Tim Steele
- We love exclusives … bring us something exclusive and there’s a much better chance that it’s going to get run. We’re greedy that way. –Erik Siemers
- The news cycle is constant. Is your story a tweet? Some stories are. Or is your story a big, in-depth conversation that would take a month to plan? Or is it somewhere in between? If you can figure out where your story is on this spectrum before pitching, it’s extremely helpful. –Sarah Rothenfluch
- If you have a good story, don’t be afraid to reach out … but know who you’re pitching and what they do. Email’s probably the best way to pitch … but please don’t send a blast. Target your pitches. And don’t be afraid to follow up. – Erik Siemers