Chicago Media Panel Provides Detailed, Practical Tips for PR Pros

June 2, 2011

by Andrea Gillespie, Account Executive, Business Wire Chicago

Public relations and communications professionals who were expecting another media panel with obvious suggestions like “don’t send pitches irrelevant to my beat” or “don’t send attachments” were pleasantly surprised at this month’s Business Wire Chicago “Meet the Media” event.

BW Chicago Regional Manager Elaine Stiles (far left) introduces (L-R) moderator Kimberly Eberl, President at Motion PR and panelists Kathryn Janicek, Daypart Manager/Executive Producer, NBC Chicago; Susanna Negovan, Editor-in-Chief, Michigan Avenue Magazine; & Kathryn Born, Founder & Editor-in-Chief, TINC Magazine

While you still shouldn’t send attachments (bogs down their email servers) or off-topic pitches (the worst), our media panel offered more honesty and candor about the art of pitching than we’ve seen in a while.

Below are takeaways from our three panelists:
Kathryn Janicek – Daypart Manager/Executive Producer, NBC Chicago  @kathrynjanicek

Kathryn Janicek is a very busy woman. Not only is she producing content for the actual television broadcast, she also manages the website, Twitter and Facebook pages for the morning news. This gives PR professionals several outlets for coverage. If she can’t give you three minutes on air, she may be able to tweet or send a Facebook update about your event.  Just ask.

  • Please don’t leave her a voicemail. You can text, email, tweet or send a note on Facebook.  She likes pitches short and to the point.
  • Watch her show.  If you do, you’ll know the kinds of stories she’s seeking. She’s especially interested in stories about saving viewers money and staying healthy. 
  • For TV, don’t just think about the segment and its flow. Think about the tease. The tease is just as important as the actual segment. If you can provide creative ideas to tease your potential segment, you’ll gain more interest.
  • Remember that TV is fiercely competitive, so offer something unique and exclusive. Example: Janicek would not do a three-minute grilling segment when people can watch grilling all day on the Food Network.
 Susanna Negovan – Editor-in-Chief, Michigan Avenue Magazine @SusannaNegovan

 As the editor of Michigan Avenue Magazine, Susanna Negovan works on three issues at a time. If you have a story for her September issue, you’re probably too late to make it to print.

  • Her readers are among Chicago’s most affluent and sophisticated. The majority have an income of more than $200K, and most are interested in where people like themselves eat, shop and go in Chicago.
  • Negovan only entertains pitches tailored to her audience. With experience as a PR professional, she knows a mass pitch when she sees one–and they get deleted immediately. She understands that PR people want their clients in every publication, but you have to be honest with your client about what’s realistic. Negovan also LOVES exclusives. Give her an exclusive look at a product, restaurant or interview and you’ll get her attention.
  • Negovan receives hundreds of event invitations. If you want her to attend, don’t bury the lead. No “You’re Invited!”  subject lines, please.  Negovan wants to know what she’s invited to in the SUBJECT line.
  • Another opportunity for PR professionals is personality profiles. Negovan’s readers are interested in successful Chicagoans–how they became successful, where they came from and what drives the person behind the desk or camera.
  • Be mindful of where your clients are advertising. Magazine editorial and advertising are more connected than ever. That doesn’t mean you receive automatic editorial placement as an advertiser, but if you advertise and have a great story to tell, you’re more likely to get a hearing.  However, don’t feel obliged to disclose you are an advertiser as part of your pitch.  Negovan knows who’s advertising in the magazine.
Kathryn Born – Founder & Editor-in-Chief, TINC Magazine

TINC (Technology Industry News – Chicago) is a blog/magazine hybrid about the Chicago IT industry and tech-hobbyist scene. Founder Kathryn Born is specifically interested in Chicago stories.

  • Because tech stories are so technical and intricate, it helps to have an evergreen press release available about your company and its main service. Too often, Born receives very specific press releases when she really needs a backgrounder on the company first.
  • Born receives about 50 emails per hour, so make your subject line stand out. Never forget this rule of pitching: pitch like it’s already a story, not just an idea for a story.
  • She treats all stories and pitches the same, regardless if your company is two people and a logo or Motorola. They all have a place on TINC.
  • TINC is published via social networks, so engaging with them on Facebook, Twitter and other social settings is encouraged.
  • For an online magazine and blog, having photos and videos is a plus. PR professionals need to remember that every journalist is tight for time, so if a reporter is covering your story, respond to their requests as quickly as possible.

Take a look at Business Wire’s events page to see what’s coming up in local events and at our award-winning webinar series.

Upcoming Business Wire Events: Meet the Media in Chicago, Crisis Comm in Atlanta, Visit Bloomberg in Toronto

May 5, 2011

Upcoming Business Wire Events

Wake Up With the Chicago Media

Hosted by Business Wire Chicago

Rise and (make your pitches) shine! Join Business Wire Chicago for breakfast and meet the producers and editors from some of Chicago’s most sought-after outlets. Find out who wants to be pitched via social media, how you can make a great first impression and where the best PR opportunities exist in each of these hot media outlets. Kimberly Eberl, President at Motion PR, will moderate the panel, which includes: Kathryn Born, Founder & Editor-in-Chief, TINC Magazine (Technology Industry News – Chicago); Susanna Negovan, Editor-in-Chief, Michigan Avenue Magazine; and Kathryn Janicek, Daypart Manager/Executive Producer, NBC Chicago. This event is free for all attendees.

Thursday, May 12 at 8 a.m. CT
Maggiano’s Little Italy – Chicago
Antinori Room, 516 N. Clark St. (banquet entrance is on Grand Ave.), Chicago, IL 60654

To register: Please send an e-mail to Abbie Sullivan at BEFORE Friday, May 6. Be sure to include your name, the name of your company, and a phone number where you can be reached. Please note that seating is limited. We request no more than 2 guests per organization.

Media Breakfast on Crisis Communications

Hosted by Business Wire Atlanta

From a natural disaster to a negative blog post, is your company prepared to manage a communications crisis? Now is a great time to go over the basics of crisis communications and reputation management. Join us as our experts share their thoughts on some key steps to following when responding to a crisis, rebuilding trust and how best to address the media during a crisis. Panelists include: Andrew McCaskill, V.P. & Group Director, William Mills Agency; Chris Joyner, State Government Reporter, Atlanta Journal Constitution; and Chris Sweigart, Manager of Digital Content, WXIA NBC,

Thursday, May 26 at 7:30 a.m. ET
Anthony’s Fine Dining
3109 Piedmont Road Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30305

To register: RSVP to Matt Johnson at 770.667.7500 or email

Bloomberg Editorial Briefing Session

Hosted by Business Wire Toronto

Join Business Wire Canada for an exclusive intimate conversation with Bloomberg News editors and reporters at Bloomberg’s Toronto offices.  Please join us for a complimentary breakfast and informal chat with four members of Bloomberg’s esteemed team to hear their collective insights on how not to have your hard work end up on the news room floor. Speakers include: Paul Davitt, Team Leader, Bloomberg Sales; Sean Pasternak, Bloomberg Banking Reporter; Steve Frank, Bloomberg Commodities Industry Editor; and David Scanlan, Bloomberg Bureau Chief. This event is free for all attendees.

Friday, May 27 at 8:30 a.m. ET
Brookfield Place, Canada Trust Tower, 161 Bay st., Suite 4300, Toronto, ON

To register: RSVP to Katrina Bolak at 416.593.0208 or email by May 23.

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 Follow live updates from Business Wire events on Twitter: hash tag #bwevents


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