Luckily, while working with GSU’s George-Anne I gained some experience about what it is like to work in a newsroom. Minoring in journalism, I can empathize with most of the items on this list:
- Not knowing who to contact and where to send the information to. Many journalists have a specific way that they like to be contacted. It is important for a public relations professional to keep a media contact list detailing who to contact, how to contact them , and even when they are available for contact. Failing to contact the right person will almost certainly guarantee that your news release will be trashed.
- Not meeting deadlines. If you promise a journalist a story by a certain time and date make sure you are able to uphold your end of the deal. Newspapers and magazines layout pages based on story length, number of stories ready for publication, and advertising space purchased. Don’t make promises that you can’t keep and if you foresee a problem then you should contact the journalist immediately.
- Providing unsolicited attachments along with your news release. If the journalist does not ask an attachment with your news release then it is a good idea to leave the attachment out of your email. Many viruses are sent via email attachments and most journalists delete emails with unsolicited attachments without opening them. ->
- Hiding information from the journalist. By hiding information from journalists that you work with you risk your professional relationship and you risk ruining your reputation. Don’t hide information from journalists that may reflect negatively on your client. Instead, address the issue proving that your client has nothing to hide.
- Contacting journalists using the wrong medium. Most journalists have a prefered method in which they like to be contacted. Know which medium they use and make sure to contact them using that medium.
- Sending the same old boring news release. Don’t send the same news release that everyone else is sending. Use catchy headlines that grab the journalist’s attention to prevent your news release from being trashed.
- “Blowing-Up” their telephone. Lady Gaga and Beyoncé sing it best in their song ‘Telephone.’ Don’t keep calling the journalist to find out when the story is going to run. Again journalists are busy and they have deadlines.
- Telling the journalists how to do their job. Just like you know how to do your job, journalists to know how to do their job. Don’t over step your bounds. Trust that the journalist you are working with is professional and that they will do their job.
- Lying or exaggerating the truth. Again don’t ruin your reputation and possibly your client’s reputation by lying or exaggerating the truth. Be truthful showing them you have nothing to hide.
- Sending blast emails. Many people see blast emails as spam. Don’t believe me….just Google two words…Lois Whitman. While Lois still has a career in public relations many articles are still written about her snafu.
These are just a few things to keep in mind when working with journalists. Just remember to treat others with the same respect that you would expect to be treated with.