Today’s Newsroom: Navigating the New Media Minefield


By Lori Hagey (FPRA Central West Coast Chapter)

As a PR professional, it’s important to understand the media’s changing mission and appeal to those changes. Ernest Hooper, columnist and bureau chief for the Tampa Bay Times, gave several tips for crafting your pitch during the FPRA Annual Conference in August 2016:

  • – Be a media consumer, envision your coverage and stay current on what your targeted reporter(s) covers
  • – Read and watch websites, blogs and videos … EVERY DAY
  • – Connect with media professionals though social media
  • – Have a plan … you can’t just wing it

A Note About Emails

Mr. Hooper also gave several statistics to put the idea of pitching through emails in perspective:

  • – Every day, 100 billion work-related emails are sent worldwide.
  • – People spend 28 percent of their work day dealing with emails.
  • – In the time it took you to read this sentence, 20 million emails were written.
  • – In 2016, 143 million emails will be sent or received every day.

Let’s Get Personal

Never underestimate the size of a journalist’s ego. The primary objective of a news release is to influence coverage, but the first goal is to make sure it’s read. The content in the email should be direct and personable. In Mr. Hooper’s case, anything with the subject line: Beyonce, BBQ or Luther Vandross, will get your story noticed.

In the event that the media professional you are trying to target isn’t a fan of any of these, then remember:

  • – Connect months in advance. You should be meeting way before the pitch.
  • – Send emails that reflect consumption.
  • – Help when it’s not your client that you are pitching.
  • – Use social networks.
  • – Don’t tell a journalist what’s newsworthy.
  • – Be respectful, smart and honest.

Editor’s note: The post was adapted from coverage of a presentation given by Ernest Hooper at the Florida Public Relations Association Annual Conference in 2016. Read the full post here.