As a communications professional, do you find yourself wondering what resources newsrooms most often use in their reporting and content aggregation?  Do local stations often use stories from the national feeds?  How do reporters prefer to be contacted with potential interviews? In recent blog posts, we previewed the news for 2014, as well as took a more deliberate look into some similarities and differences between Spanish-language and English-language newsrooms. In this final of three posts from the insights gained from on our recent Content Needs & Industry Trends Survey, we’re taking a closer look at a few additional strategies for pitching broadcast reporters.


What are the Best Ways to Engage with Reporters on Social Media?

One of the most interesting trends we noticed was the depth and frequency of use of social media in day-to-day newsroom operations, by both Spanish and English-language stations.  More than three quarters of respondents (78%) said they utilize social media either to some or to a great extent when gathering news content.  This suggests that social media is not only a good way to connect with reporters and promote news, but also that it has “made it” as a legitimate, useful and seemingly long-term tool for journalists.

One of the great benefits of Twitter and other social media platforms is the immediacy inherent in them.  They are excellent resources for providing information on breaking news, announcements, and events going on right now.  The challenge, of course, is figuring out when and when not to use these tools.  And, while many reporters are now actively using Twitter in their work, many others are struggling to find its value so it’s critical to understand as you’re pitching who is tuned into this social channel and who is not. If you have a news story immediate in nature, reaching out to a reporter who is active on Twitter via Twitter might be a great way to reach them – and express natural urgency.

What are Some Notable Characteristics of Local Stations, Statewide Networks, and National Networks?

We know there’s a lot of noise out there reporters have to deal with, and that reporters have their “go-to” sources for content aggregation.  We wanted to explore those sources to have a better window into the minds of our broadcast partners.  Here are some interesting highlights we found:

  • Original reporting is still top of mind: 87% of our respondents indicate that in their newsrooms the emphasis on original reporting is still there.  This is great news for us – we pride ourselves on working with great journalists who know how to ask the best questions and provide great stories to their listeners.
  • Reporters clearly count on pitched content: Close to 80 percent of respondents indicate they utilize pitched content to some extent or to a great extent in their reporting.  With these high-caliber, trusted journalists who have plenty of their own quality, original content to report, the bar for pitched content is high.
  • 50% of local stations indicate utilizing network feeds to a great extent; as do 27% of statewide networks

We’ve all heard the stories of the lack of resources in newsrooms nowadays, there’s a high demand for news, and less and less staff in the newsroom to produce and report that news.  Still, those realities don’t seem to mean they’re choosing national feed stories just to compensate.  In fact, we asked stations to ‘select all’ of their most important determining factors in covering a national interview, and actually only about a third (37%) selected “newsroom resources” as something they largely take into consideration.

What Makes Reporters Tick? Key Strategies for Adapting your Content for their Listeners 

It was evident throughout our survey that a local tie-in can be key in getting non-nationally focused reporters interested in covering your news story.  Are you able to give them specific, local statistics for their listeners?  Is the spokesperson from the area?  These are great questions to think about when you are planning your outreach strategy.

We asked respondents to indicate how localized the content should be when they receive pitches, and here are some of the highlights we found:

  • Nearly 40 percent (38%) of local stations indicate the content should be citywide; and the same percentage said statewide;
  • Of respondents from statewide networks, 64% said statewide; 18% said regional; and
  • Not to surprisingly, all of the national network respondents said the content should appeal to a national audience.

Having local statistics and information enables reporters to provide the information most relevant to their listeners, who trust they will get the news they need.   And this came through in our survey results with nearly 70 percent (69%) of local stations, and two-thirds (64%) of statewide networks, indicating they would be likely to book an interview if it were able to provide localized information.

We also then asked respondents to indicate their likelihood of booking an interview with local statistics/information as well as a local spokesperson.  Those numbers rose to 100% of local and statewide reporters saying they would be likely to schedule the interview.  It is important to remember that having a well-trained, polished local spokesperson is what’s desirable to stations.  They don’t want just anyone because they’re local.  They want someone well-spoken, who is also able to relate to their audience.

Newsrooms have the interest of their audiences at heart, as do you.  You know you have great information that is important for folks to hear; and reporters know there are great news stories being pitched.  Our job as communications professionals is to succinctly present that news to reporters in ways that are relevant to their audience. Our Fall, 2013 Industry Trends & Content Needs survey provided us with key reminders, as well as great, fresh information to utilize in our day-to-day operations.  We hope you’ve found this blog series useful in your media outreach planning for 2014.

Stay tuned…