PR agents and companies are always approaching journalists with information that they hope will be turned into stories – it’s (part of) what they do. Depending on the situation this may take the form of a mass press release or a more specific and targeted communique.
In my case I write a lot about Technology and Media and so these are the areas I tend to get approached about most, although they’re not the areas I’m exclusively interested in.
If you are approaching me with what you think is a story I’d be interesting in pursuing, here are five (by no means exhaustive) things that are worth keeping in mind:
1) I’m happy to receive a pitch via phone, e-mail, twitter, MSN, Google Talk or face-to-face but I expect it to be made clear that I’m about to receive a pitch from the outset.
2) If you’re pitching something for the tech spot I do for B&F remember it is fortnightly and so is outside of the daily news-cycle. Anything that will be stale (or covered elsewhere) in the immediate future is no good to me.
3) The B&F tech article also has a long lead-in time. The subject is decided a week and a half before the deadline and the deadline is almost a week before it hits the shelves. In other words I need to know well in advance if there’s anything interesting coming down the line that you think might be worth covering.
4) However the B&F tech piece is not the only thing I do. I’m primarily a freelance journalist and I write news stories and features in the areas of technology, media and current affairs. Pitch your relevant stories to me and I’ll let you know if I’m not interested.
5) Don’t tell me how great your new product, service or software is, let me see for myself. Trialling something directly says far more than any spec-sheet or picture ever will (that said high res. pictures are vital if the product is going to be reviewed).