What you think a TV reporter wants vs. what they really want

Who, what, where, why and when? The five “W”s are the foundation of journalism, but with the evolution of media and the 24-hour news cycle, there’s a lot more that goes into it – especially when you’re competing with breaking news and thousands of other pitches.

You Think: Reporters want to talk to the CEO of the company.

The Reality:
While in some cases a CEO is definitely a top get (think Jeff Bezos or Tim Cook), what reporters really need is emotion. They want someone who will connect with their viewers, who looks like their viewers and who can communicate with their viewers.

You Think: Reporters want a news conference.

The Reality:
Not even close. In fact, sound from a podium is the LAST thing a reporter wants. While news conferences are great when it comes to the information of the story (think back to the 5 “W”s), you should always try to provide someone who can speak one-on-one following an event.

You Think: Reporters want a huge event surrounding your message.

The Reality:
No again. News stations are fighting for viewers, just like you’re fighting for coverage. Exclusivity is huge for reporters, so if there is a way to share your story with just one news crew, more often than not, the others will come, because no one wants to get scooped.

You Think: Reporters just want an interview.

The Reality:
Nope. Reporters need to tell their viewers a story, and they can’t do that with just one person. They need visuals and natural sound (think clapping, cheering or even someone laughing) – so always keep that in mind when putting together an event or pitch. Make sure you sell those elements.

Don’t set your business, event or message up for media failure. If you know what reporters want, you’re much more likely to get the coverage you need.

Looking for more tips on how to build better relationships with your media folks?  Check out the some additional tips from our in-house media relations manager who’s worked on both sides of the news desk.

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