4 guidelines for pitching Irene-related stories

The hurricane that’s making landfall on the East Coast will consume newsrooms for the next several days. Pitch the media cautiously—or not at all.

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With Hurricane Irene getting ready to wreak havoc anywhere from Florida to Maine, and possibly everywhere in between, don’t count on there being much, if any, other news coverage. That will likely be the case through the weekend and, depending on the damage, through next week.

Unless your clients are in the insurance or construction business, it’s best to wait until Irene leaves and clean up is under way before making any news pitches. This will be true for news outlets nationwide, but particularly on the East Coast.

As newsrooms cover Irene, they will be looking for stories related to the hurricane, no matter how thin. It’s one of those news events that consume news organizations, even though the flow of actual news is minimal until the hurricane makes landfall.

If you have clients who are integral to hurricane preparation or the mop-up, this is a good opportunity to offer helpful information through the news media. But be clear that you are pitching information, not your client. If the information is good enough, the media will mention your client.

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