On May 12, 2005, PRSA Houston members and guests spent serious face time with representatives of Houston’s media to learn ways in which both professions work together.
Guest panelists included:
Christine Hall, focus reporter, Media & Marketing columnist, Houston Business Journal Tara Howard, assistant news director, KTRH Radio 740
Mark Garay, weekend news anchor, KTRK Channel 13
James Howard Gibbons, editor/opinion pages, Houston Chronicle
Paul Pendergraft, news director, KUHF-FM.
Guests learned to become familiar with the publication and the writer’s style before making a pitch, to pay attention to reporter deadlines, and to follow up in moderation on story ideas and pitches.
Here are the tips provided by Houston media panelists:
1. Public relations and working with the media is a business of relationships.
2. Think like a reporter. What questions would you ask if you were writing a story?
3. Make it as easy as possible to work with media professionals to get a story ready and published.
4. Most members of the news media like for public relations practitioners to follow up on releases. Just don’t be annoying. Also, when you call to follow up, add something extra to your pitch other than just asking if they received the release.
5. Biggest mistake PR people can make: Don’t ask to promote a company without a story or idea.
6. Be familiar with the workings of the Associated Press’ Daily Book of regional calendars. To learn more, call the Dallas News Bureau at (972) 991-2100.
7. Make yourself or another media contact immediately available when a member of the news media returns your call or email or calls or emails you first.
When pitching a story:
1. First, know your client and what they do before you try to explain it to an outside source.
2. Know the news media you are pitching to. Listen to them on the radio, watch their TV programs and read the news articles they write. Know about what they do and what they cover.
3. When pitching to the news media, answer the questions, “Why does anybody care?” about what you are pitching.
4. When pitching the television media, give them ideas for the visual aspect of your story and tell them what they will “see.”
5. Television media seem to have more time to fill with stories and news on the weekends, so don’t forget about the weekends!
6. Public relations professionals are encouraged to pitch story ideas to anchors as well as editors
7. Even if roll-out dates are not available for a story idea, be sure to get the story idea to the media to have on file.
Many thanks to this event’s thoughtful sponsors – The Westin Galleria Houston, Baker Street Pub & Grill, Houston’s Museum of Natural Science and GolinHarris. For additional questions about the event, please contact Mari Pillar, PRSA Houston New Pros Programs Chair at 713-513-9574 or firstname.lastname@example.org.