At a recent PRSA Digital Impact Conference, New York Times columnist David Carr spoke about the implications that social media tools hold for journalism and public relations. In his conclusion, Carr offered PR professionals a few helpful tips to use when working with journalists.
1. Don’t ask “Did you get my e-mail?” “Don’t have your junior deputy call and ask if I got your e-mail as another way to make contact,” Carr said. “Yes — these are all very reliable technologies — I did.” If he didn’t respond, he simply isn’t interested in the story.
2. Don’t send blast e-mails. A single personalized e-mail will be far more effective than hundreds of generic messages, Carr said, especially since it takes minimal effort to rework an individualized release for print. “We’re not lazy so much as incredibly busy,” he said. “If someone gift wraps something and hands it to you — ‘This is only for you’ — chances are you’re going to take it.”
3. Only pitch legitimate news. When telling your boss that the information they want you to pitch is not newsworthy, they may reason that making the phone call can’t hurt. “Yes, it can,” Carr said. “I’m going to think you’re a twit.” PR professionals need to educate those they work for about what should be pitched to reporters. “Don’t try to manage me,” he said. “Manage them.”
For the past 25 years, Carr has been writing about media as it intersects with business, culture and government. We found this information priceless and thought we should share it.
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