Here's a dispatch from the trenches that likely won't be news to most of you, but illustrates how the nature and practice of media relations has been changing. Its message: Don't wait till virtually the last minute to seek media coverage, and recognize, as well, how the editorial structure of still-surviving papers has been changing. Writing on Gannet's pressconnects.com, Neil Borowski is executive editor of his chain's Central New York Media Group, which includes three papers in the Elmira-Binghamton-Ithaca area.
"If you are planning an event," Borowski writes, "send us a notice as soon as you set a date. The best email address to use is firstname.lastname@example.org. Even if you are not crafting a formal news release yet, send a sentence as a heads-up so we can plan." There's the rub. With smaller staffs and fewer resources, papers need to plan well ahead for deploying their reporters and photographers.
Does your local paper's website have a photo gallery? Plan to shoot the best pictures you can with the best camera you can muster to get them posted there. The paper may not have a photographer available to send to your event.
Overall, maintain due regard for the heightened pressures of being a journalist these days. They don't want to seem so stressed, but they very likely are.
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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