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The Arizona Republic has been a dominate source of news for the Grand Canyon State before statehood was even established. To us Arizona PR pros, it is one of – if not the – premiere location for our stories to run.

So you could imagine how popular last week’s PRSA Phoenix’s Media Breakfast was, which boasted a panel of Arizona Republic key players at Cadillac Ranch in Tempe Marketplace.

The panel included:

?       Kathy Tulumello, Business Editor
?       Karen Fernau, Food Editor
?       Jennifer McClellan, Events Reporter

While these are definitely some names we in the Phoenix-area have pitched to before, the panel offered new tips and insights on how to catch their attention and get your story the coverage you want.

Here’s what they had to say (paraphrased):

On news releases:

Kathy – We all prefer getting releases through email and please only follow up via phone if you are really passionate about the story or it is absolutely necessary. I oversee eight reporters, each of whom has their own area of coverage. Make sure you know who is covering what – finance, real estate, energy, etc. – and you’ll be more likely to get the story.

Karen – Releases are helpful for core information, but (in the nature of food writing) most of my stories come from pitches.

Jennifer – As an events reporter, I like short, to the point emails, so releases can be great. What the event is, where it is, how much it will cost, how many people, all in the body of the email. Even if it is just for a little blurb, people really read those. I often get more questions on smaller blurbs than the big stories!

On pitches:

Kathy - I am focused in strategy, making sure my reporters are all communicating with our partners (at 12 News) on stories. Pitch stories that tap into our readers’ interests and passions – help them make money, tell them when the economy will be okay, news that will directly affect them.

Karen - I typically prefer a story that has been pitched by a PR pro rather than someone who is self-promoting. It makes the process easier and the PR person can tell the chef things I can’t (like how to dress). I’ll never write a feature on a chef or restaurant, but rather, news that features them – new trends, health-related issues, changes in the business. I plan most of my stories three to four weeks in advance, more so for bigger focuses. For Christmas, we plan in July!

Jennifer –Avoid cuteness and catchiness. The best way to get a story out of an event is to find a person with a direct, personal connection, like someone who the cause supports.

On Twitter:

Kathy – We try to get our news stories online first. With the multiplatform (mediums) we have today, we want extra media like videos (for social outlets). With Twitter, we are more conscious of times like on television – traffic at same times each day. While it’s good for delivery, it’s not a primary source for finding stories and pitches.

Karen – I don’t use Twitter!

Jennifer – I pay attention to what people are talking about (such as) what events they are planning to attend. Of course, I am not against getting story ideas or information from Twitter; I just don’t use it as heavily as others might.

Sound Advice:

Kathy- We have a lot of internal partnerships across the different sections of the paper, so think of how to cross-pitch for more coverage. I also recommend sending pitches to the Cronkite School writing class professors. A lot of these students need stories to publish.

Karen- See what has been done before. Try not to pitch any repeat content.

Jennifer- The less clicks for me, the better. Keep all the info in the body of the email. If you need to include a lot of information, supplement the pitch with links. Also, include all of us (Republic and its partners) on one email. Example, the events section has a strong connection with EVB, and they use a lot of the Republic’s “Things to Do” section for stories.

Stephanie Lough
Stephanie Lough
A former HMA Public Relations employee.

1 Comment

  1. Great job, Kendra, in organizing the PRSA media breakfast.

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