Should you pitch non-coronavirus stories to the press?

COVID-19 is dominating the news cycle. Can PR pros stoke interest about stories unrelated to the pandemic? Are journalists covering anything else?

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The question top of mind for public relations professionals who don’t have a COVID-19 story to pitch is: Can I get coverage for my client or organization on a different topic?

You can, according to a panel of health care reporters at last week’s Publicity Club of Chicago monthly luncheon. (The panel was held before the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.)

“Yes, please, any other ideas are always welcome,” said Kristin Schorsch, reporter for WBEZ 91.5 Chicago. “We can’t just have COVID-19 dominating the news cycle. We have to tell people what else is going on in the world.”

Scott Becker, publisher of Becker’s Healthcare, said that although every digital newsletter’s subject line will touch on the coronavirus, “80% of the reporting isn’t solely focused on COVID-19.” A handful of the podcasts his team produces are COVID-19 focused, but not all. He cited a recent podcast with the president and CEO of Stanford Children’s Health that focused on leadership, not the coronavirus.

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