No, we don’t have our hair and makeup done for us.
Yes, most will write, shoot and edit their own stories.
And no, most reporters don’t get nervous on camera.
GEOFF: Emily and I are both (recovering) former TV journalists, right here in Albany, where Baker Public Relations is based.
Onlookers always asked my “favorite” question when they saw me with a camera, “Oh man, what happened?”…as though it must be something terrible.
But it’s not always bad news. Often, it’s very positive!
EMILY: At Baker Public Relations, we have several former broadcast journalists who provide insight into common misconceptions about “the media.” We help you understand how a newsroom operates, improve media relations and secure client coverage.
GEOFF: The first big misconception I want to address: newsrooms are not simply ignoring your story or the “good news” in your city. Newsrooms are busier than ever. There is more news, more places to report it, more competition and fewer employees handling it all.
To grab a reporter’s attention, your story must stand out with content and visuals and with your audience. Just cutting a ribbon or announcing a donation won’t always move the needle.
EMILY: Make sure to send your pitch to a reporter who is likely to cover that “beat” or territory. For example, I was mostly a hard news reporter. If you pitched me an art exhibit or ribbon cutting, I was not likely to accept. But if you pitched an attorney on a high-profile case or a lawmaker to address a polarizing issue, you’d probably have success.
Secondly, it’s important to understand that many reporters may be fresh out of college or new to the area, especially in smaller markets. Someone new to Albany or New York state might be unaware of your organization’s vital role in the community. Your pitch may need to be more specific as to why your client or event warrants coverage.
Get to know reporters and their beats, and develop professional relationships built on mutual trust.
GEOFF: Another misconception that might be tough for some public relations professionals is that you don’t know what is best when you’re on a shoot with a news team. Full stop.
You can suggest a location for the interview and maybe even some good B-roll shots. But don’t stare into the photographer’s viewfinder, don’t force logos into the background and don’t touch the equipment. If the story is good for you, trust the crew to make it shine.
EMILY: Lastly, most journalists do not work 9-5, so expect reporters to reach out early in the morning, late at night, on weekends and holidays. Be prepared to assist clients with a 5 a.m. live shot or crisis communications on Christmas. The news never sleeps.
And, if you’re looking to hire, take our word, reporters make great public relations professionals. We are natural storytellers, experts at meeting deadlines and know how to produce a pitch that generates coverage.