Public Relations & Journalism

Chapter 10: Distributing News to the Media

Book: Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques (Sixth Edition) by Dennis L. Wilcox

  • Selecting the right channels of distributing to the media is key to guarantee that your work is reaching the correct media and the correct audiences.

Media Databases vary but they do have five things in common that provides essential information:

  1. Names of publications and broadcast stations
  2. Mailings Addresses
  3. Telephone & Fax numbers
  4. E-mail Addresses
  5. Names of key editors and reporters
  • Editorial Calendars– where trade publications and business periodicals tend to operate.
  • Tip Sheets– is a way to find media personnel who might have an interest in your material
  • “Online news rooms are part of the organizations website, which is now a primary source for journalist seeking late breaking news and other information about an organization.”
  • Key words are important with search engines optimism(SEO). Publicist must use key words that is helpful in use to search for information.
  • Camera ready features are widely used by newspapers and other media outlets because they reduce staff cost and fill spaces.

Chapter 11- Getting Along with Journalist

Public Relations professionals and journalist have had a long love-hate relationship. With this in mind, two-thirds of journalist do not trust public relations people, but there is also the realization that they are mutually dependent on each other.

In a sense, media depends on public relations professionals.  In most mass communications, reporters and editors spend most of their time processing information and not gathering it.

Fun Fact

PRWeek conducted a national survey of Journalist and found that almost 60 percent used news releases “all the time” or “often.” Thirty percent acknowledged that they relied more on public relations sources than they did 5 years earlier.

The purpose of public relations is to inform, to shape opinions, attitudes and motives.

Giving gifts such as coffee mugs or T-shirts are Gimmicks that reporters and editors does not easily enjoy receiving.

The major complaint about journalist is that they are sometimes sloppy and they aren’t accurate, nor take the time with their homework.

The bottom line in effective media relations is being accurate, truthful, and providing outstanding services.

NOTE: Don’t irritate reporters by asking, “Did you get my news release? Also, don’t ask to see an advance copy of the story or when a story will be published.

For related information on PR VS Journalism: Take a look at 10 ways that PR people can sometimes drive journalists crazy.

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Jeff Houck with Pitching to the Media

Jeff Houck from Tampa Tribune

Jeff Houck is a food writer for Tampa Tribune and food blogger at The Stew on TBO.com.

On Tuesday, April 5th, I was privileged to hear Jeff Houck speak in my PR Writing Class about “Pitching to the Media’. His experience and knowledge with journalism has helped me to look the “fun” aspect of journalism. Not many people can say how effective and how fun journalism can be. Jeff Houck is a humorous and truthful person whose knowledge towards pitching to the media was very insightful.

Ten things when Pitching to the Media:

  1. Relationships are key: having strong relationships with people will get you far. Why? Because these people may become your future clients or they may help you land a great job.
  2. Bad Language: when having a pitch, make sure it is clear and straight to the point. If there is too much going on, chances are that your story will not be published.
  3. Pitching Errors: Before submitting a story make sure that there are no errors. Make sure you proof read your story several times (have a second eye also) before submitting. This will make the process easier for you and the journalist to submit the story.
  4. Deadlines: Not many people are cautious of the time. Deadlines are extremely important and you have to submit the deadline as soon as possible, even weeks before can be better. This will give the journalist time to edit and possibly submit the story even sooner.
  5. Honesty: When receiving information, know that everyone is not going to be honest. Have a back up plan when you decide to do the “pitch”.
  6. Selling the Story: Know your story but not too much that you have to over sell it. “Don’t sell the product, sell the story.”
  7. Headlines: When writing your headline, keep it short, simple and catchy. “Cut to the chase”
  8. Title your Email Correctly: When emailing a news release or trying to consume some information, make sure your email is professional including the title. This will help you to quickly achieve your goal and it helps your email to not be thought of as spam.
  9. Ask the Journalist: Before you do anything on sending information to a journalist, make sure you ask what would they like to see and what are there pet peeves. This will make it less stressful while trying to release your story.
  10. Have fun with pitching: Love what you do while doing it. This will insure that your work will come out greatly. Pitching can be easy, simple, and fun if you follow all steps.

Follow: Jeff Houck on Twitter

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Thank you to Barbara Nixon for having Jeff Houck speak in our PR Writing Class at Southeastern University.

Follow: Barbara Nixon on Twitter