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SXSW Interactive 2013

Sh*t PR People Say

Journalists and Public Relations professionals have an opportunity to embrace each other’s professions and not just co-exist but really work together to develop meaningful content that audiences look forward to reading. However, the struggles are endless and sometimes it seems that both parties are clueless about what goes behind each other’s closed doors.
Are reporters really reading your pitches or are they going straight to their trash folder? Are those “flacks” really doing their due diligence on who to send this pitch to? This discussion will uncover the hidden truths about what goes on behind the scenes before a story hits your news source.
This discussion will involve someone from each side of the story: both the newsroom and a PR firm. While these two women are at the top of their game – a managing editor and agency president – both have had plenty of experience working with the other to produce great stories.

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  1. How does a news journalist usually react when they receive a pitch from a public relations professional? Are story pitches a convenience or a nuisance to journalists when looking for a possible story to bring to their editors? Is there a certain time of the day that is best for sending pitches? How should PR professionals differentiate their timely vs evergreen pitches?
  2. Everyone claims to know how to write, but few actually know how to write for media professional’s eyes. What are the parts of a pitch or press release that will immediately turn a news journalist off, before they even get to the end of the pitch? Does the formatting of a pitch sway a reporter’s likelihood to reach out to the public relations professional, such as bulleting or listing our specific parts of the pitch?
  3. In today’s day and age, breaking news happens in a matter of seconds; therefore news journalists no longer have the luxury of reading long, detailed pitches. In your experience, are there certain words or phrases that stick out to a journalist and immediately pique their interest in the pitch they are reviewing? Along the same lines, are there any specific keywords or “buzzwords” that public relations professionals should use or avoid when pitching a reporter?
  4. What is the best way to maintain and manage a relationship with a news journalist without coming across to them as being pushy? Often times the person who is pitching the reporter wants to make sure that they did in fact receive and review their pitch, but they don’t want their pitch to be consequently moved to the trash folder for bothering the reporter. Do you feel that follow up emails are a good technique to use or do you find them to be more of a hassle and bother than a friendly reminde
  5. For public relations professionals that work at an agency and represent multiple clients, what is the best advice you can give them in order to better handle sending multiple pitches that may use the same news journalist as the storyteller? Through your experiences what have you seen as the best technique to manage those types of situations so the reporter is not inundated with emails from the same point of contact?



Stephanie Ignacio, Campaigns Coordinator, integratePR

Meta Information:

  • Tags: journalism
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Dual
  • Track: Work and Career
  • Level: Intermediate
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