In 2016 Annual Conference, Central West Coast Chapter, Professional Development

Blogger: Lori Hagey (Central West Coast Chapter)

Today’s Newsroom: Navigating the New Media Minefield
Presented by: Ernest Hooper, Columnist/Bureau Chief, Tampa Bay Times

Getting Picked Up 101:

It’s important to understand the media’s changing mission and appeal to those changes. Craft your pitch in a way that demonstrates your knowledge of the individual media professional and your respect for their area of interest. Generalized pitches and mass email blast tend to get overlooked. Mr. Hooper offered his insight and specific tips on what a public relations professional should do to get their story or client picked up.

  • Be a media consumer, envision your coverage and stay current on what your targeted reporter(s) covers
  • Read and watch websites, blogs and videos… EVERYDAY
  • Connect with media professionals though social media
  • Have a plan… you can’t just wing it

A Note About Emails:

To put things in perspective… Mr. Hooper provided a few astounding facts about emails:

  • 100 billion work-related emails sent everyday worldwide
  • People spend 28 percent of their work day dealing with emails
  • In the time it took you to read this sentence, 20 million emails were written
  • By 2016, 143-million emails will be sent or received every day

Let’s Get Personal

Never underestimate the size of a journalist’s ego. The primary objective of a news release is to influence coverage, but the first goal is to make sure it’s read. The content in the email should be direct and personable. In Mr. Hooper’s case, anything with the subject line: Beyonce, BBQ or Luther Vandross will get your story noticed. In the event that the media professional you are trying to target isn’t a fan of any of these then remember the following:

  • Connect months in advance, meet way before the pitch
  • Send emails that reflect consumption
  • Help when it’s not your client that you are pitching
  • Use social networks
  • Don’t tell a journalist what’s news worthy
  • Be respectful, smart and honest

Contact information for Ernest Hooper:

Email: Phone: 813.661.2440 Twitter: @Hop4U

HooperOver the span of his award-winning career, Ernest Hooper has covered prep and college sports, the NFL and TV/radio sports. In his current role with the Tampa Bay Times, he oversees coverage of community news in Hillsborough County while writing community columns for the paper. He also hosts his own public affairs television show on WEDU, Tampa’s local PBS affiliate.


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