Last week, our chapter cohosted with North Florida PRSA the Annual Media Roundtable. Our members and guests had the chance to network with media representatives from print, radio, TV and online platforms around Jacksonville. Dr. Courtney Barclay, our chapter president, moderated an opening panel featuring Melissa Ross - WJCT, Anthony Austin - First Coast News, Karen Mathis - Jacksonville Daily Record, and Frank Powers - News4Jax. Here's a roundup of some tips from the experts:
Getting in contact.
Know the journalist you are trying to reach. Some prefer emails, while other admit emails will get overlooked and lost in the clutter. A follow up phone call or text can be a good way to bring attention to your email. Or, skip the traditional and head straight to your social DMs, especially Twitter.
Have your multimedia collateral ready.
Before you pitch a story, think about the outlet and what will be needed to effectively tell your story. Don't wait to gather or take photos until a reporter calls you back. Have the entire packet ready to send.
The pandemic did leave some flexibility in news reporting.
When asked what trends or practices from the pandemic would continue to change reporting practices, the panel said Zoom interviews are here to stay. While TV news outlets still prefer in-person, the pandemic has proven that we can create quality content with video conferencing. This could be especially for short-notice stories. A news station may not be able to get a reporter on scene, or the source may not be able to get to the studio. Video conferencing can create the flexible solution needed to tell that story. For radio, it has become a first option as it is easier for many of the guests.
Following this panel, the media professionals joined small group conversations with PR professionals. We listened in on the conversations and heard great personal recaps of professional backgrounds, upcoming story pitches, and interesting discussions of the state of the news industry, social media challenges, and more!