Media Relations from a Journalist’s Perspective — An Interview with Leslie Friday
For a media relations class assignment, I interviewed Leslie Friday, BU Today and Bostonia magazine staff writer. Before she came to BU Today, she served as a journalist for several newspapers such as the Brookline TAB and the Tico Times, in Costa Rica. The interview contributed to several media relations tips that may concern our PR pros-to-be. Here are some of the things that she had to say during our interview.
What makes a good story?
- Unusual and compelling topics
- Relation to your audience
- Applicable to broader contexts
Which part of working with PR practitioners makes you feel good?
- When PR people pitch great story ideas
- “We sometimes enjoyed working with each other.”
Which part of working with PR practitioners annoys and frustrates you?
- “When a crime/bad news happened, a PR person didn’t return my call/email, or simply provided useless response.”
- PR people sometimes are uncooperative and even antagonistic.
Anything that a PR professional can do to make your life easier?
- “Answer my questions thoroughly and as quickly as possible, in the first time.”
- Be honest.
- “When anything comes up, please let me know. I can write a story about it and help people know. Let’s help each other out.”
- “Follow what you promised.”
What makes a good pitch?
- Subject line should “Have a story idea and don’t get too wordy.”
- Be concise and show the most interesting part of the story in the beginning.
- Interesting/new/unique, which “hooks me, makes me want to know more.”
- Timeliness is important, yet again.
- Pitch to the right person: research about the journalist, know his/her preferences.
- “When pitching to mainstream media like the Boston Globe, it’s usually more difficult to get attention, so you must have a strong story and make it unique and more polished.”
- “Keep pitching. You need persistence.”
Any advice for writing a valuable news release?
- Include the most important information in the first paragraph— the five W’s and one H. Remember to tell the journalist why it is important.
- Be concise.
- “Read several times before you send it. Don’t repeat.”
- Include contact info and different ways to get in touch.
- Include a boilerplate at the bottom — with information about the company.
What qualities should a PR pro have?
- PR is people relations. You should know how to work with people.
- Have good event planning skills.
- Communication skills: have everything well written in advance and strong verbal skills.
Posted on February 14, 2012, in Careers, Public Relations and tagged Bostonia, BU Today, Leslie Friday, media relations, news release, news value, pitching, PR pro, Public Relations, writing. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off.