On Tuesday, September 11th we had the pleasure of hearing from some of the most well-known news outlets in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Panelists Molly Fleming from The Journal Record, Jason Collington from The Tulsa World and Meagan Farley from Newson6 told the audience what it takes to get our stories publicity. Detailed questions and answers can be found below.
Is the press release dead?
• Building relationships are very important
• Press releases are welcomed but if you have a personal relationship it will help your story get heard
• They are always looking for stories so send everything
• Building a relationship and talking to someone over phone or coffee will communicate story better than a press release
• Clearly communicate what the news is and be sure to find the right person to get it to – reporters are clearly labeled on websites.
Other than companies reaching out, where else do you get your story ideas?
• Paying attention to trends
• Getting lost in our own cities and seeing signs around town
• AIA meetings
• Leasing transaction from brokers
• Bills from legislators
• Tulsa World has a software for social media for certain words and people that will notify them of alerts
• City Council agendas/meetings
• By approaching developers to try to get to them for stories before actual groundbreaking
What are your thoughts on saying “no comment” when approached by reporters?
• No comment is a bad idea. You are just saying you don’t want to say anything right now but are delaying it which makes the reporter know they just haven’t found everything out yet, which makes them dig more
• Goes back to relationship building. Let the reporters know what is going on and explain why it can’t get out yet. They will sit on the story until you are ready as long as you tell them why and let them know when they can release it
• “Off the record” is just as bad as “no comment.” Reporters are not here to make anyone look bad, just communicate like normal people.
• If anything is public record it is going to be talked about so you might as well talk about it.
• No comment = what are you up to
What time should we contact you with a lead or press release? What is your deadline? What is the process?
• Editorial meetings at 9:30am and 2:00pm. The list has been made by the time that meeting happens.
• If you have already reached out at a different time, Meagan suggests reaching out again at 9:00 or 9:15 to refresh their memory.
• Make sure press release explains the benefit that will make it stand out and be seen.
• Send by email directly to reporter.
• Stories will not be aired unless there is a rendering.
• Timing is constrained so have everyone ready and someone who can communicate the message well when interviewing.
• Make it as visually entertaining as possible
• Editor meetings 9:15 and 3:15.
• Don’t just give words but if you have visuals that will help be seen and will give a leg up.
• Tulsa World has a gallery for upcoming projects so there are no time or spaces constraints. Submit everything.
• Workforce Series is a new series about people who actually do labor outside and not in an office.
THE JOURNAL RECORD
• If it’s still a few weeks before you want to release the story, still send it.
• Phone calls are great to talk it all through.
• Send everything. Maybe the story you are pitching won’t work how you are thinking but they can figure out a different way to share your story.
• Don’t call between 2-4pm as they are working on deadlines.
• Don’t overthink press releases (don’t stress out and wait for a quote because it likely won’t be used).
• If reporters request something and you can’t get it in time then just tell them so they can move on
What is the biggest misconception about your job?
• We are not the enemy. We are not secret spies.
• We won’t be here forever. You want your story in there but you don’t read it or watch it and they can tell that you don’t. You need to support and subscribe to journalism so that it doesn’t go away.
No audience means no business.
• They do this because they care about the community are passionate about it.
• They are genuinely interested in the stories and really want the stories to benefit the viewers.
What do you see happening the next five years in the reporting business?
• Everything has moved strongly into digital. The demand is on the reporter to do Facebook Live, tweets, etc. all day long, maybe before it even airs. – NEWSON6
• Newsworthy stories get read no matter what.
• Largest audience reads stories online.
• They keep putting relevant news online that people care about.
• People get the app or breaking emails.
• News outlets are working to conform to our lifestyle. If its important it will get to you.
• They try to get stories to people that others follow who will share it so it reaches larger audiences
• People seek the truth so they strive to tell the truth to people. That is their reputation.
• All the news outlets can complement each other to get the big picture across.
• Stories that have a challenging piece are great.
Jason Collington shared helpful links for Tulsa World.
Beat info and contact info: https://www.tulsaworld.com/tulsaworldstaff/
Download the app to get free push notifications: www.tulsaworld.com/appdownload/