7 keys to being a ‘journalist whisperer’

Reporters aren’t altogether like wild horses, but there are a few similarities.

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Much like wild mustangs, journalists fiercely defend their independence. They live by rules and standards that preclude them from taking payments or favors in exchange for news coverage. They have a tendency toward idealism, or at least toward righting the wrongs perpetrated by those in power. They like a good story, a strong human angle and a long shot fighting from behind.

Because a very small number of stories pitched to the press will see the light of day, you will want to adopt some of the practices of a good “reporter whisperer.” With that in mind, follow these techniques when pitching your clients to a busy reporter or editor:

Be selective. Discover which media outlets and reporters are most likely to be receptive to your story idea. Not every reporter is going to cover you, but if you are lucky, you will strike pay dirt with a couple influential ones.

Convey a simple message. Keep your pitch simple and don’t run on. If pitching by email, answer the who-what-where-why questions as quickly as possible. Don’t use long paragraphs, either, as the eye prefers white space when taking in content.

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