Confessions of a Former News Producer: What it Takes to Get Media Coverage

Calling the media to get your event covered? I can hear your groans from here. As a former news producer, I was often the person on the other end of the phone trying to let you down gently, “No, we won’t be able to attend your event today.” I promise, I wasn’t the bad guy. I would often think to myself, “Man, if they had just done X,Y,Z…we could get there, or even run a :15 second mention in the show.” Well, now that I’ve crossed into the world of PR, I can divulge some of the deep, dark secrets you need to crack the nut that is the news media.

It’s All About Timing

  • Be conscientious of the timing of your event
    • Newsrooms usually have two meetings every day: one at 9 a.m. the other between 2:30-3 p.m.
    • It’s difficult to send a crew in the middle of the newscast
    • Setting the time of your event during mid-morning or mid-afternoon events will make it much more likely for a crew to make it
  • Pitching your event
    • Call to confirm coverage during down times
      • Most ideal: Bright and early before the 8 a.m. call that sets the day for managers and the assignment desk, 8:30 a.m. before the 9 a.m. editorial meeting or right after (give at LEAST 45 minutes for this meeting)
  • When it came to news story pitches, I always asked my reporters, “What’s the today angle?”
    • In other words, what’s the time significance of your story? Is it happening today? Is it an anniversary? Is there a recent news headline that makes your event or story significant/relevant?

This is just the tip of the iceberg! Tune into to my new series, Confessions of a Former News Producer, for more tips and techniques on how to get coverage, keep coverage and cultivate relationships so the media will turn to you for their next story. Next time, we’ll take a look at how you can help reporters and their producers tell your story and why that may just make you their new best friend.

If there’s a problem you’d like me to explore, email me at Katie@mckeemanpr.com.


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