By Julius Coyle
“The Media Relations Side of P.R.,” a Mass Communication Week event, focused on media relations and their relation to public relations.
The event took place on Thursday, October 22, from 9:30 to 10:50 a.m., in room 320 of Old Main. The panelists were Donna Tuttle and Laura Lorek.
L to R: Donna Tuttle, Laura Lorek
The panel discussed the ways that members of the public relations community and reporters can work together harmoniously, focusing on the “pitch”.
The two panelists talked in detail about the art of the pitch. A pitch is when a journalist attempts to persuade his or her editor to give them the go-ahead on a story.
Lorek added that a good pitch gets the editor’s attention, and if you’re pitching an event, a press release is necessary.
“I get thousands of pitches a day,” said Tuttle. According to her, the first impression of a pitch is important, because you usually only get one shot at convincing an editor.
Tuttle also said that while most people think you can only pitch to the editor, this is not true; you can pitch to anyone in the newsroom. However, it is important not to be pesky or persistent
She went on to say that while some academics think press releases are dead, they are still important for journalists. “We use more press releases than ever before,” said Tuttle.
But she cautioned that a press release is not always necessary to pitch something.
“It depends on the goal,” Tuttle said. “If you’re trying to reach a large audience, than yes [you need a press release].”
As a way of closing, Lorek had these words of advice.
“Be persistent. Always be positive.”
Donna Tuttle has worked for the Forte Foundation, the Kent County Daily Times, and the Bloomberg Business News. She is a project coordinator at the San Antonio Business Journal.
Laura Lorek has worked for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Interactive Week Magazine, and the San Antonio Express-News. She is currently self-employed.
Picture and video by Julius Coyle.