How to cultivate reporter relationships on Twitter

Major media outlets use tweets primarily to broadcast their stories, and many journalists are no different, a study says. But you can still connect with and pitch to them through Twitter.

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Most newspapers use their Twitter feeds to draw eyeballs to their own copy, seldom linking off-site, according to a new study. Even individual reporters’ accounts are often little more than strings of links to their own printed words.

But for every journalist like New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, whose Twitter account is a stroll down the memory lane of his own headlines, there are many who use the medium to communicate and gather news.

Can PR professionals reach out to them through Twitter? I tweeted to ask Andy Carvin, senior strategist at NPR, whether Twitter is a good way to pitch a story, and he snuffed out the hopes of legions of PR pros with a quick reply: “No, not really.”

Well, all right, then. But before you close down your Twitter account and return to emailed pitches, others insist that your 140-character talking points can help you build relationships with reporters and call attention to that source they need right now for a story.

Reporters respond to @ messages

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