Event Recap: Chicago-area New Media Opportunities

August 16, 2010

by Andrea Gillespie, Account Executive, Business Wire/Chicago

Abbie Sullivan

Abbie Sullivan, Client Services Representative

Successful media relations in Chicago over the last several years has meant both strengthening your news eye to find and pitch the most relevant stories, and finding new places, people and forms of media in which you can get those stories picked up.

While some news holes seems to be shrinking in and around Chicago, many new print and online opportunities have emerged.  These sites are empowering the community to share and own the news.
On Wednesday, August 4th, Business Wire hosted a media breakfast with the editorial management staff behind some of Chicago’s newest media outlets.


Moderator: Raschanda Hall, Global Media Relations Manager, Business Wire


L-R: Raschanda Hall, Tracy Schmidt, Kyle Leonard, Tara Tesimu

Triblocal/Kyle Leonard, Managing Editor

Triblocal is your spot on the Web to find out about local news and events. The site encourages everyone to become contributors by writing stories, posting events to community calendars and posting photos. All contributions will be posted on the site; however, many are chosen for the weekly print edition and even the Chicago Tribune. Key Takeaways for Communications Professionals:

  • All stories must have a local tie to them.
  • You can post stories, photos and videos.
  • Everyone loves looking at videos on YouTube – hyperlink to your YouTube channel.
  • Leonard prefers you post your story or event to the site first, then email him directly if you think your posting would be a good fit for the print version. He also suggests you follow up via phone.
  • Chicago Tribune editors read Triblocal, and some stories found on Triblocal will make it to the Tribune pages.
  • Pitches should be publicists telling a good news story. Every organization has a “Locks of Love type story,” tell them yours.
  • With events, publicize the event two weeks out, but then further publicize the event after it takes place. Send photo galleries and event highlights, especially if there’s a fundraising goal. Many people will see the event after it takes place and still want to donate to or learn more about your cause

ChicagoNow.com/Tracy Schmidt, Editorial Director

ChicagoNow.com is an online community of Chicago bloggers covering a variety of subjects including Chicago politics, fashion, sports, food, music and events. The site was created by the Chicago Tribune Media group but is run by its own full-time staff. Key takeaways for communication professionals:

  • ChicagoNow wants their bloggers to become part of their communities by writing opinions and information about a specific community. Bloggers are also expected to write as often as possible – which means they need content.
  • When pitching bloggers remember:
    • Keep it relevant to their beat.
    • Including photo galleries is extremely desirable as bloggers love having multiple photo options.
    • Follow the blogger on Twitter and friend them on Facebook.
    • Bloggers have to abide by FTC guidelines, so if you gift a blogger, they will have to disclose that information.
    • Sponsored Posts (or “pay to play”) will be noted as such.
  • ChicagoNow’s bloggers regularly speak on ChicagoNow’s radio show, which airs on WGN on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon.
  • Follow ChicagoNow on Twitter (@ChicagoNow) and learn about regular River North Tweetups where you can mingle and meet the bloggers.
  • ChicagoNow is always looking for bloggers. They are especially looking for someone who can blog about the Public Relations/Adverting industry and what life is like inside the agency walls.
  • If your client is an expert at something (medicine, finance, real estate, etc.) having them become a blogger is a great way to get publicity and expand customer base.

Patch/ Tara Tesimu, Regional Editor

Patch is an AOL-owned hyperlocal site now covering the Chicagoland areas of La Grange and Skokie (more than 48 additional communities are expected to launch shortly). Patch’s focus is community engagement, and they ask readers to submit their own announcements, photos and reviews. All professional editors, writers, photographers and videographers live in or near the communities they serve. Key takeaways for communication professionals:

  • If you have an event in a Patch community, post it – all calendar events go right up on the site. Two weeks is a good lead time.
  • Provide photo galleries and videos, as they will also be included and are highly encouraged.
  • Reach out to editors via the Patch Facebook sites.
  • All businesses in Patch communities have a profile in the Patch directory, so be sure to fill yours out, and add photos, too.
  • Will cover a business or person outside the community if that person has a community tie.

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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