As Sandy slams the East, some caveats about pitching

Newsrooms nationwide are covering the historic storm. Here’s what PR professionals should know about trying to catch journalists’ attention this week.

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Even if your pitch is somehow related to the breaking news, there is still a good chance that it will not see the light of the day. Tell your client that the news is so big that New York City closed its mass transit and school systems in preparation for the massive storm expected to blast much of the eastern third of the country.

Newsrooms nationwide, and particularly those east of the Mississippi River, are singularly focused on Hurricane Sandy and the deluge that is expected to come with it. The reporters who are not working on hurricane coverage are assigned to stories examining what the hurricane will mean for the Nov. 6 general election.

The two stories together make it a perfect storm for news. Having been in a newsroom within several hundred miles of a hurricane, I can tell you that everyone becomes a news reporter. If you were covering pie bake-offs last week, this week you are covering how restaurants are preparing for the storm.

The story line for the storm goes like this: preparation stories, the live coverage of when the hurricane hits, the mop-up and rebuilding stories. In all, we’ve got at least a solid week of coverage. It is a great lead-in for the Nov. 6 election.

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