Home > PRSA, Traditional media > What the traditional media had to say

What the traditional media had to say


Traditional media relations tactics still important

Although there’s been considerable focus on “new” media, the “old folks” still play a vital role in our strategic public relations efforts.

For example, we generally get a lot more activity in our live online chats at the Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services when the local newspaper, TV or radio outlets do a blurb or mention as a result of our press releases. Our communications director has established good working relationships with the media, so they know he’ll provide newsworthy material.

At the heart of Media Relations is getting to know the needs of individual journalists — and striving to meet them. One might want video, photos and fact sheets. Another might prefer a two-paragraph e-mail. It’s important to learn their preferences and then read, listen to and/or view their reports. Offer story ideas of value to their readers/viewers/listeners.

With that in mind, here are some highlights from the traditional media portions of the recent Cincinnati PRSA Media Day event:

National Media Panel
* Bob Driehaus, former Cincinnati Post reporter who freelances for New York Times
* Dan Sewell of Cincinnati AP bureau
* Carolyn Forta, Good Housekeeping

Sewell covers P&G, Kroger and breaking news. Likes brief pitches. E-mail best. Subject line critical. Contact info. Couple lines and bullet points. Whatever helps sell the story to editors. Relevance. Statistics. Trends. AP reporters like Sewell heavily involved in Twitter. Facebook to lesser extent, but evolving quickly. Use to develop contacts, get story ideas, see what people are talking about.

Driehaus does not use HARO to get sources. Will use Twitter, Facebook in a pinch. Pitches more stories to NYT than they assign. Likes brief pitches. E-mail best.

Forta does a speed cleaning page. Tests products in lab. Does a blog. Drives traffic with Twitter and Facebook. Web work adds to workload.

All use bloggers for tips or background. May become a source. Never lift from blogs. Good Housekeeping getting info from Webinars.

Local Media Roundtables

James Pilcher, assistant managing editor, technology
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Covers economy, aviation, technology Get to know me. Don’t do a cold call. Example: PR person had read his Twitter stream and was familiar with him before making a pitch. Keep pitches to 4-5 paragraphs with no attachments Think multi-media: Enquirer does as much video as TV Also does podcasts 24-hour news cycle. Give to us first . A well-told local story will get picked up by AP. National reporters check with local journalists first while researching stories. Utilizes online newsrooms on Web sites every day. Likes contact info, financial info, top executive bios/photos

Chris Graves, assistant managing editor/digital-online

Cincinnati.com primarily fed by Enquirer. Enquirer.com no longer exists Her job fundamentally changes every six months In the last four months, the Enquirer has been putting virtually all of the printed paper online a day in advance. Competing with Google, AP, blogs… Use Share first. Editor could flag for Community Press, Enquirer Also e-mail editors and localnews@enquirer.com Get to know reporters Don’t put solely on Share. Send to editor/reporter, too. She does the Enquirer’s live chats. Not regularly scheduled. As needed. Also, they’re looking at BlogTalkRadio

Stew Hirsch, assignment manager

Started June 1. Had been in Columbus market for 20 years Doesn’t like pdf attachments. Doesn’t want a suit. Wants real people.

Hope you find this helpful. Please feel free to share your thoughts about this.

Categories: PRSA, Traditional media
  1. November 12, 2009 at 10:55 am


    It seem like a lot of them said they prefer that a PR practitioner “get to know them first” or some form of that. How would someone like myself, who’s just getting started and doesn’t really have a rolodex (virtual or otherwise) of media contacts, get to know them?

    None of them like cold calls. So calling or emailing them to invite them to lunch or something to “get to know them” would probably fall on deaf ears, or worse, annoy them.


    • mikeboehmer57
      November 12, 2009 at 11:08 am

      I’d suggest that you select a few top journalists — those who communicate with your target audience(s). Then, do your homework about them. Read their stuff. Listen to their podcasts, radio shows… Watch their TV programs. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook, if they’re there. Visit their LinkedIn profiles. Google their names.

      Then, sent them an e-mail and briefly introduce yourself. Ask about their deadlines and preferences.

      Some may be open to lunch or coffee. Some may be too busy.

      If they’re speaking at a luncheon or participating in a panel discussion, attend — and use this as an opportunity to connect.

      Comment on their online articles/reports and blog posts. Show you’re really interested in what they’re doing.

      These are just some practices that have worked for me. Hope this helps.

  2. jericles
    November 12, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Thanks for the advice. It helps very much.

    • mikeboehmer57
      November 12, 2009 at 11:58 am

      Glad to share my experiences! That’s what this blog is all about.

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