Listening to three veteran news reporters at a recent conference provided me with plenty of good tips for reaching out and responding to reporters.
Katie Hinman, supervising producer for CNN’s The Lead with Jack Tapper, said:
- Be honest and comprehensive. We are skeptical and if you aren’t sharing information, we think you have something to hide.
- Be specific about what your expert will share.
- Watch the shows you are pitching so you have a sense of what the anchors and correspondents cover.
Gina Garcia, an Emmy-nominated producer with the CBS This Morning program in Washington, D.C., said:
- “Character is everything.” She was referring to having available someone who benefitted from a program or is using the product. The character provides added depth to the story.
- Be a resource. Because reporters can’t be everywhere, reporters value PR people who can be available and act as a resource. This often leads to a good story placement for the PR person.
Karen Travers, correspondent with ABC News, said:
- Follow reporters on Twitter because they often will make requests on Twitter for subject matter experts.
- Don’t just pitch an idea; pitch the whole concept, including sidebar stories or infographics and possible footage.
- Provide a phone number where you can be reached 24/7 because you don’t know when the producer is going to call.