How to Pitch Regional Broadcast Media

By Melissa Maycott, Media Relations Manager

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending a luncheon program hosted by the Philadelphia Public Relations Association (PPRA). The program, which was entitled “Broadcast Media Panel Offers Tips for Getting Your Stories on the Air,” featured some of the Philadelphia-region’s most notable radio and television news personalities including the producer of FOX29 News, Jodi Harris (@jodi_harris), managing editor at CBS3 Eyewitness News, Steve McKenzie, and long-time on-air personality at KYW Newsradio, Paul Kurtz (@Kurtzpaul).

Amid a crowd of roughly 75 of my PR peers (some of whom were familiar faces and some I’d just met), I listened intently as the panel of broadcast experts sitting in front of me shared their own personal experiences interacting with PR professionals pleading to get their story on the air in addition to their tips for “us” on how to make that happen.

Below and here, depicted in this educational infographic are my key takeaways from the event.

Just remember, every #PRFail – and believe me, I’ve had plenty throughout my almost decade-long career as a PR professional — can be looked upon as a learning experience to help you continue to grow in your practice. The key is recognizing when you’ve made a mistake and how you could have approached the situation better, and putting that insight to good use as you pick up the phone to pitch your next big story.

To learn how Tonic can help support your media pitching needs, contact me at Melissa.maycott@toniclc.com.

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When “Earned” Holds a Different Meaning

By Jessica Ross, Senior Media Specialist

As PR pros, we are aware the print news industry is struggling. Large layoffs, consolidation of smaller community papers, and dissolving of “softer” news beats increased in frequency throughout 2015. The Financial Times and The Las Vegas Review-Journal were sold to larger companies in an effort to salvage their papers, and recently instead of a corporate buy-out, we witnessed our very own Philadelphia Media Network donating The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com to a new nonprofit journalism institute owned by the Philadelphia Foundation. To the general public, a nonprofit holding ownership of a news entity may help ease the unrest regarding editorial ethics and bias that can come from a corporate buy-out, but we in the PR field can more clearly see how this may not be the case.

In a recent statement, former owner H. F. Lenfest detailed the new institute’s structure was to “provide philanthropic avenues to fund the company’s journalism,” meaning other foundations, corporations, and benefactors can give money to the institute to be used for specific reporting efforts and journalism projects, such as endowing an investigative-reporting team, supporting coverage of the city’s school system, etc.  Even though Lenfest claims that the institute has no power to influence editorial decisions, the question immediately arises of how true in practice this may be. Even in the most indirect way, cash flow can dictate the amount of staff available to each beat and therefore give an industry with more benefactor support an editorial advantage over other newspaper sections that don’t have the manpower to generate organic content.

With paid integration already on the rise in the PR industry, where a company pays to control editorial content it’s clear that the lines between earned and paid media channels are becoming increasingly blurred – a trend PR people should follow closely. By funding endowments to specific newspaper sections or projects, companies’ communications teams may be able to secure more media coverage than they would through a paid integration. It will be interesting to see how this influences Philadelphia news coverage, if other papers across the country take this approach as a financing solution, and if companies begin to use this in a strategic approach to media relations in the future.

What do you think? Should we as PR professionals capitalize on the ability to fund specific newspaper projects, or is this crossing an ethical line when it comes to earned editorial coverage?