When I served as a panelist at a Fair Media Connection Day session called “Pitching TV Reporters” I was joined by such media pros as Telemundo reporter Liz Gonzalez, FIOS TV news director Phil Corsentino, MY9News VP & News Director Jim Driscoll, Chris Collora of New York 1, and moderator Patrick Halpin of the Institute for Student Achievement.

Among the takeaways from the lively session:

  • Pitch the right person at the TV outlet to pitch (and spell their name right!)
  • Pitch by email and make the subject line and opening sentence strong.
  • Remember that TV is visual medium, but don’t forget that it’s the STORY that sells
  • Make sure the reporter is cleared to park and alert security that TV is coming
  • Arrange for interviewees and prep them towards avoiding long rambling responses and alert them to the type of interview they will be in.
  • Don’t just line-up experts and CEOs, bring people into story that are affected by the story.
  • TV resources are stretched thin with fewer people to fill the same amount of news hours. Provide the reporter with all the story elements needed including, guests, props, and pertinent video to enable them to do their job as efficiently as possible
  • TV coverage can be intrusive–multiple vehicles may arrive (early or late or not at all) the TV truck may need to park in a particular location to get a signal out, cable may need to be run, a quiet location may need to be secured.  The publicists should make sure management is supportive of having TV on site, and see that the benefits of TV coverage outweigh any inconveniences.
  • Spanish language TV is growing—don’t forget to pitch Telemundo and Univision and find someone on the fluent in Spanish to be available as spokesperson
  • Don’t oversell-a good story sells itself.
  • Under promise and over deliver

Next time we’ll take a look at how reporters and producers want to be pitched, what turns them off about a pitch and what they’re looking for in a good TV news story.

UPDATE: To read Part 2, click HERE

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