Become a reporter’s best friend: 5 helpful reminders

Tired of journalists ignoring your emails and calls? Follow these tips to build a solid relationship with them.

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I spent the next two hours calling and emailing clients trying to gather a comment. I never did get a comment, but the reporter did express gratitude for the effort.

This little exercise reminds me of why some PR practitioners maintain good relations with the media and others don’t. Here are some points to remember for young PR executives:

Go above and beyond the call of duty.

If a reporter calls you at 5 p.m. on a Friday, don’t hang up or blow him off. Do all you can to help him finish his story and get him sources. He will remember it in the future.

Don’t send them crap.

A former boss said the reason our agency was successful in getting story placements was that we distributed well-written press releases. The press releases were often written like news stories and could be copied and pasted into a paper.

It’s not exactly great journalism, but in these days of thinning newsrooms, reporters and editors love a press release that doesn’t need much work.

Understand the reporter’s beat.

It helps if you learn about what subjects a reporter covers. If a reporter writes about politics and you keep sending him technology stories, you will soon find yourself in his doghouse.

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