Pitching Your Story to Journalists

  1. Realize that journalists want to hear from community groups and organizations in order to acquire information and story concepts.
  2. Call reporters you don't know and reporters you know. Do not just rely on the comfort of your established relationships—you will miss excellent opportunities.
  3. Discuss or practice your pitch in advance with a colleague. Be able to get right to the point: "Hi. This is Jamie Jones at the DEF Group. We're having a news event tomorrow at 9:00 am on Proposed Policies to Reduce Drug Problems at City Park. I wonder if you've seen our announcement of if I can fill you in on what we're doing?"
  4. Try getting reporters to dig into a story: "This is so and so from EKP Coalition. I'm looking for a reporter who writes on issues about alcohol retailers who sell to kids in the Southern part of the County. Would that issue be something for you?"
  5. If the reporter is not interested, try to find out why. "Would you see this as a story for a different reporter at your paper (station)? Who would you suggest? Why don't you see this as an issue of interest? Should I be reframing it or providing some different information to a reporter, or do you see this as un-newsworthy, or . . ?" Ask questions. Dig deeper. See what you can learn.
  6. Journalists are our neighbors. They are interested in real issues of this community. To make the story workable, it needs to "flash" at the reporter or show some initial signs of "working" as a story. Is your story THERE? Does it need more work before you call? Should you toss it out?

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