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How To Become a Resource for Journalists

Posted by Chelsea Good on March 24, 2009

The following tips were provided in the resources in the upper right hand corner of lesson 3 and I think they’re great advice. As someone who studied journalism in college and has written for numerous publications, I see a lot of value in these tips, especially responding to journalists’ questions promptly and concisely. Also, journalists tend to turn to people they know for info. So, if you establish a relationship with a journalist, they’re likely to call you for info when a beef related story breaks.

Building solid relationships with your local media is one way to ensure consumers are hearing the real information. The best way to build a relationship with media is to ensure they see you as a resource they can turn to at any time. Below are five easy ways to make sure you remain a constant resource to your local media.

1) Know Your Local Media Outlets: Know what your media is talking about. Turn on your local news programs and read through your daily newspapers. Nearly every media outlet also has a Web site, so take a few minutes every day to familiarize yourself with the content.

2) Just Say Hello: There are always opportunities to build relationships with your local media, even if you don’t have a particular story in mind. If you’re at a local event and you see reporters from your local newspapers or television shows, go up and introduce yourself. Share a little bit about your operation, and, if appropriate, give them your contact information should they have questions in the future.

3) Response Time is Key: Print and television journalists operate on strict deadlines. If they contact you for a story, respond to them immediately – even if you ultimately decide not to participate in the story or provide information, it’s important that you let them know you received their inquiry.

4) Don’t Skirt the Question: Sometimes reporters will ask you questions which you aren’t comfortable answering. However, don’t ignore the question altogether. Rather, let them know that you aren’t able to provide that information and invite them to contact you in the future with other questions.

5) Be Organized and Concise: If you choose to provide information for a reporter, remember that because they are on strict deadlines, they don’t have time to sift through a lot of information. Instead of sending them an entire document to reference, identify and send the few quick points that will help their story.


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