While WMPRSA has a strong focus on the West Michigan area and community, it’s important to become acquainted with other areas of the state especially when it comes to media. On Thursday, April 19th, WMPRSA hosted four journalists and editors from the Detroit area:
- Ron Fournier, Publisher & Editor for Crain’s Detroit
- Lindsey Smith, Investigative Reporter for Michigan Radio
- Kelley Root, Assistant Manage Editor for Detroit News
- Hannah Saunders, General Assignment Report, FOX 2 Detroit
The group shared their viewpoints, worst and best experiences with pitches, and general PR do’s and don’ts. A few stand out points were:
- Remember the medium you’re pitching to. If you’re going to pitch a story to a TV station in Detroit, you must have someone willing to go there and do an interview.
- Don’t call them. Email and Twitter were both agreed upon by everyone as great outlets for pitching and following up.
- When you send out a press release make sure you have someone available to do interviews.
- The media is very open to updating a story if something was published incorrectly or inaccurately. However, the corrections need to be sent in immediately to stay timely.
Following the panel discussion, a great question came from the audience:
"We are businesses and organizations based in Grand Rapids and West Michigan, not everything we pitch will have a Detroit connection but can still be newsworthy for the Detroit area. What should we do in this situation?"
The media agreed that this is tough to navigate. They do appreciate when the story connects with Detroit because that’s their audience base. They did say that if you can connect the story to somewhere else in the state, that’s a start. Knowing their beats is also important, so even if the article doesn’t necessary impact Detroit, it still follows what they're looking to cover.