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How to pitch reporters without being annoying

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Presentation at NASW 2015 in Cambridge, MA

Published in: News & Politics
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How to pitch reporters without being annoying

  1. 1. How To Pitch Without Being Annoying: A Top Ten (OK, 20) List Ivan Oransky, MD VP, Global Editorial Director, MedPage Today Distinguished Writer in Residence, NYU Arthur Carter Journalism Institute Co-Founder, Retraction Watch i.oransky@medpagetoday.com @ivanoransky
  2. 2. Don’t 1. Call to make sure I got your emailed press release
  3. 3. Don’t 1. Call to make sure I got your emailed press release 2. Call to make sure I got your call about your emailed press release
  4. 4. Don’t 1. Call to make sure I got your emailed press release 2. Call to make sure I got your call about your emailed press release 3. Pitch me a basic science study as clinically relevant
  5. 5. Don’t 1. Call to make sure I got your emailed press release 2. Call to make sure I got your call about your emailed press release 3. Pitch me a basic science study as clinically relevant 4. Confuse “information people at my institution will care about” with “press release-worthy”
  6. 6. Don’t 1. Call to make sure I got your emailed press release 2. Call to make sure I got your call about your emailed press release 3. Pitch me a basic science study as clinically relevant 4. Confuse “information people at my institution will care about” with “press release-worthy” 5. Pitch an upcoming journal paper that you’re unable to provide as full-text/PDF
  7. 7. Don’t 6. Send out a pitch listing yourself as the point person, then go on vacation
  8. 8. Don’t 6. Send out a pitch listing yourself as the point person, then go on vacation 7. Send the same canned pitch to five people in the same news organization
  9. 9. Don’t 6. Send out a pitch listing yourself as the point person, then go on vacation 7. Send the same canned pitch to five people in the same news organization 8. Have a minder sit in on all interviews
  10. 10. Don’t 6. Send out a pitch listing yourself as the point person, then go on vacation 7. Send the same canned pitch to five people in the same news organization 8. Have a minder sit in on all interviews 9. Send an unsolicited guest article or blog that could be used were it not dripping with PR references ("At Acme, the leading provider of surgical toothpicks, we believe….")
  11. 11. Don’t 6. Send out a pitch listing yourself as the point person, then go on vacation 7. Send the same canned pitch to five people in the same news organization 8. Have a minder sit in on all interviews 9. Send an unsolicited guest article or blog that could be used were it not dripping with PR references ("At Acme, the leading provider of surgical toothpicks, we believe….") 10. Start a phone call pitch without giving the reporter or editor a chance to say “hello”
  12. 12. Don’t 11. Send out a pitch listing yourself as the point person, then go on vacation (ditto for releases touting or even suggesting PI availability)
  13. 13. Don’t 11. Send out a pitch listing yourself as the point person, then go on vacation (ditto for releases touting or even suggesting PI availability) 12. Include incorrect embargo information or "I don't know but I'll get back to you”
  14. 14. Don’t 11. Send out a pitch listing yourself as the point person, then go on vacation (ditto for releases touting or even suggesting PI availability) 12. Include incorrect embargo information or "I don't know but I'll get back to you” 13. Build a “firewall” between PIOs and experts
  15. 15. Don’t 11. Send out a pitch listing yourself as the point person, then go on vacation (ditto for releases touting or even suggesting PI availability) 12. Include incorrect embargo information or "I don't know but I'll get back to you” 13. Build a “firewall” between PIOs and experts 14. Expect us to know which PIO covers anesthesiology if you haven’t spelled it out on your site
  16. 16. Don’t 11. Send out a pitch listing yourself as the point person, then go on vacation (ditto for releases touting or even suggesting PI availability) 12. Include incorrect embargo information or "I don't know but I'll get back to you” 13. Build a “firewall” between PIOs and experts 14. Expect us to know which PIO covers anesthesiology if you haven’t spelled it out on your site 15. Pitch awareness month as a news peg
  17. 17. Don’t 16. Embargo material that’s already published (and yes, online ahead of print counts)
  18. 18. Don’t 16. Embargo material that’s already published (and yes, online ahead of print counts) 17. Ask me to agree to an embargo that you plan to let someone else break
  19. 19. Don’t 16. Embargo material that’s already published (and yes, online ahead of print counts) 17. Ask me to agree to an embargo that you plan to let someone else break 18. Send embargoed material before I’ve agreed to any embargo, then expect me to uphold it
  20. 20. Don’t 16. Embargo material that’s already published (and yes, online ahead of print counts) 17. Ask me to agree to an embargo that you plan to let someone else break 18. Send embargoed material before I’ve agreed to any embargo, then expect me to uphold it 19. Use ALL CAPS in your subject line
  21. 21. Don’t 16. Embargo material that’s already published (and yes, online ahead of print counts) 17. Ask me to agree to an embargo that you plan to let someone else break 18. Send embargoed material before I’ve agreed to any embargo, then expect me to uphold it 19. Use ALL CAPS in your subject line 20. Pitch me to write a piece for a news organization where I no longer work
  22. 22. Do 1. Convince your researchers to return my staff’s phone calls -- by deadline
  23. 23. Do 1. Convince your researchers to return my staff’s phone calls -- by deadline – and not talk in jargon 2. Get to know what I’m interested in, by reading, and seeing what I do on Twitter
  24. 24. Do 1. Convince your researchers to return my staff’s phone calls -- by deadline – and not talk in jargon 2. Get to know what I’m interested in, by reading it, and seeing what I do on Twitter 3. Send me stuff you think I’d be interested in that isn’t from your institution – in the words of Denise Graveline, pitch less, tip more
  25. 25. Do 1. Convince your researchers to return my staff’s phone calls -- by deadline – and not talk in jargon 2. Get to know what I’m interested in, by reading it, and seeing what I do on Twitter 3. Send me stuff you think I’d be interested in that isn’t from your institution – in the words of Denise Graveline, pitch less, tip more 4. Send me stories from high-impact journals that don’t embargo
  26. 26. Do 1. Convince your researchers to return my staff’s phone calls -- by deadline – and not talk in jargon 2. Get to know what I’m interested in, by reading it, and seeing what I do on Twitter 3. Send me stuff you think I’d be interested in that isn’t from your institution – in the words of Denise Graveline, pitch less, tip more 4. Send me stories from good clinical journals that don’t embargo 5. Cultivate relationships (call Roger Sergel: rsergel@everydayhealthinc.com)

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