3 obnoxious PR mistakes that drive reporters crazy

Want to address journalists’ most common complaints about PR pros? Here is a trio of the most annoying—and how to correct them.

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Here are three common media relations mistakes that drive reporters crazy, along with easy fixes for each:

1. Never visiting a newsroom. Journalists frequently complain that PR pros pitching them don’t understand what it’s like in a newsroom. The result can be untargeted pitches, poorly timed follow-ups or worse.

“To truly understand how a newsroom works, how stories are developed, how some make the cut and others don’t, and how intense deadlines rule the day, one needs to experience it firsthand,” says Jennifer Stauss, a strategist at Bozell who worked in an Omaha TV newsroom before jumping to PR.

If you’re already in PR but lack this background, ask your local media contacts for an opportunity to shadow them awhile. If you have a fantastic intern who has no newsroom experience, help to secure and facilitate such an opportunity.

“That’s the situation at Bozell,” Stauss says. “Our PR intern is going to spend some time at our local ABC affiliate a couple of nights a week for several months. She’ll get to sit in on story meetings, work with assignment editors, go out on stories with reporters and see how the newscasts unfold.”

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