OLD Media Moves

Why biz journalists sometimes ignore PR pitches

April 21, 2007

Posted by Chris Roush

Laura Goldberg, the business editor of the Houston Chronicle, talked to the Bulldog Reporter’s Daily ‘Dog blog about why pitches from PR people sometimes don’t work.

Laura GoldbergGoldberg said, “I was named editor in April of last year—and I still get calls from agencies pitching me on stories I used to cover. I don’t have the time for that. These calls come from the bigger agencies who should know better and who probably have services or databases they can check before sending things out.” Her advice for ensuring that you’re among the PR practitioners who “know better”—and who build valuable long-term relationships with the press you pitch on a daily basis:

1. Don’t accept media lists at face value—call and confirm contacts. “Take the time to do your background research,” Goldberg exhorts. “Check the names on the list to make sure they’re still there, especially if you’re not sure how current the service you’re using is,” she suggests. “You can always call the front desk if you’re still unsure. If you don’t at least do that—it’s a sure-fire way to alienate us. It shows that you really don’t care who’s on the other end of the [phone] line.”

2. Turn expectations upside down—pitch from the bottom up. “Another important thing is not to target editors,” Goldberg says. “Pitch from the bottom up. Start with reporters on your beat. If you’re not getting through or sure who to reach, then sure—go ahead and contact an editor. But do that sparingly, and only after you’ve already called the general news number or tried an editorial assistant,” she advises. “We’ll typically be willing to forward your calls to the right people if it comes to that, but editors can’t become traffic cops for PR. It’s got to be a breaking business story that impacts Houston in a big way for me to do that for you, for example.”

Read more here.

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