4media group recently brought on veteran journalist Nate Kuester to help lead its local public relations efforts. Informed by his 14 years in news, including time spent as an anchor and news director in markets of various size, Nate and I sat down to discuss the symbiosis between public relations and journalism, and how PR practitioners have a pivotal role to play in making the news.
The Modern Pressures of the Newsroom
The conversation began by looking at how modern newsrooms offer unique challenges, something impacted most immediately by the emphasis digital media have placed on getting the story, and getting it now.
“Pressure to get the story online is one of the biggest pressures you’ll face,” Kuester said. “That digital element is driving today’s newsrooms, but it also has the potential to become the largest driving force in news as we move forward.”
And it’s not just the existence of the digital landscape that adds pressure – it’s all the avenues it affords.
“You also have to think about pushing out a story on all your platforms, so not just social media but on your mobile application and then even sending a push notification – which places a bigger emphasis on getting it right the first time, because there are so many avenues to which a correction would have to be issued,” Kuester said.
The lesson for PR professionals here has to do with their responsibility as proctors of news. It can be tempting to think of pitching as just another part of your job, but that ignores your role as a mediator between journalists and the public. Give journalists all the information you can upfront, and be certain of its accuracy before hitting send.
How To Pitch Sponsored Content
4media group takes pride in its vast offerings surrounding broadcast public relations, but we also realize the lines can become blurry for some stations in what to put on the air after a certain pitch hits their inbox.
That’s why most of our staff have newsroom experience, and Kuester’s thoughts on pitching sponsored content were informed by his time both in front of and behind, the camera.
“It’s important that you establish the very real news draw from the outset,” Kuester said. “There has to be an identifiable viewer benefit. Stations are willing to engage with media tour opportunities provided it offers a true benefit to their core audience demographics. If you can provide something of interest to that demographic, it’s a no-brainer for the station to take your content.”
The lesson here is that there’s huge value in taking your time to localize pitches, even if they’re national ones. Pitching an assignment editor or anchor by name, mentioning where they’re broadcasting from, and taking the time to express something novel about their market is going to increase the likelihood your story is picked up.
If you’re looking for more tips on creating great newsworthy content, or even amplifying a piece of content you’re already proud of, don’t hesitate to reach out.