Pitching to Reporter vs. Editor
A pitch tells a story. What is essential is not how you send a pitch but to whom.
Find out, the most effective print or broadcasting media for your story. Determine how the organization works, who farms out assignments. Every journalist has preferences for receiving news releases and pitches. Knowing the format and method could make a world of difference.
Pitching is effective if you know, whom to contact. Prepare a list of media contacts which detail: name, media source, telephone number, email, and postal address, as well as fax number.
Organize the data:
• Television: news assignment editors, reporters, and producers. Here, a news editor may not be responsible for assigning news coverage; assignment editors handle the job and reporters only execute what they are assigned
• Radio: news directors and reporters or radio jockeys. The news director at radio stations is the one who assigns reporters.
• Wire service: bureau chiefs, assignment editors, photo editors, and reporters. Here, the chief does not assign stories assignment editors handle the duty.
• Newspapers: city or metro editors, business editors, news or politics editors, or foreign affairs editors, and reporters in each category. In newspapers, the editors may or may not assign stories but will approve of every story written. A few columnists and reporters do take decisions on their own. Others can approach the concerned editor with an attractive pitch and ask to work on it.
• Talk shows: producers, bookers, and hosts. The producers and bookers work out the details.
Master who’s who in the media. It is useful to know who handles what and whom you are dealing with. Very often, responsibilities do overlap so be well informed of whether you should contact the editor or reporter.
• Sending a pitch to a reporter who works in the field is more effective than sending it to a dozen editors who may or may not evince interest.
• Reporters have specific beats and interests while an editor will be in charge of many aspects of newspaper production. Editors live by deadlines and will not have the time to listen to you. Most will just skim through pitches.
• Reporters have an inborn curiosity and will lend an ear if your story is of interest to them. For an editor to show interest your pitch must be current and sensational –the headline and para one must convey the crux of the matter.
• Try and locate from your database the ideal reporter for your pitch. If you are not certain, then it is advisable to contact an editor who will be able to identify the perfect reporter.
• If broadcasting is where you wish to pitch then contact the assignment editors.
The fundamentals are: target the pitch to the right person and plan your pitch: be brief, accurate, and interesting.