It takes a very loyal and passionate person – who is great at their job – to work with the same company for more than 30 years. Janet Terry is all of those things.
As a producer for WUSA9, Washington D.C.’s CBS affiliate station, Terry has worn many hats over the years. As most producers do, Terry has weird hours in the newsroom. Some months she works at 2:00 a.m., some are more normal.
It’s clear that Terry appreciates, and is very open to considering, the guests and news that are offered to her for the shows she produces, which are mainly the 6:00 a.m. and noon newscasts. Terry says her love of meeting people and desire to make a difference in people’s lives keeps her motivated. “I love meeting people and I’m passionate about journalism…my passion has never died.” As you could imagine, Terry’s inbox is inundated with e-mails – internal emails, personal emails, and yes, emails from us public relations professionals.
She has the following tips and reminders for those of us on the PR side of the coin:
- The story being pitched should be timely. Tie your story into something relevant going on in the news, ideally on the local level.
- Think about when you’re calling. Don’t call right before a newscast. Know when the station is about to go on their air.
- Take the time to find out who to pitch. Often stations will list their reporters and producers online. Take the time to find out who covers what. If it’s not online, call (at a good time) to try to determine the best person to contact with your news.
- Hone down your idea – don’t pitch five ideas in one email. Only pitch one guest, story or expert per email. Suggest the most timely, relevant and newsworthy of what you’re working on.
- When you’re pitching television stations, include information on props and visuals. Think: “How can we spice this up?”
When it comes to the absolute best qualities in a guest, Terry says they should:
- BE ANIMATED
- NOT give simple “yes” or “no” answers
- Have a conversation with the host!
Terry went to undergraduate school at NYU in New York City, and then worked as a French teacher in Boston before moving to Washington, D.C. to attend graduate school at American University. She worked as a reporter on the Hill and then for one other news station before joining the WUSA team, and staying there for more than 30 years – and counting.
Terry’s hidden gem of the D.C. area: the farmer’s market she has operated for eight and a half years.
The Olney Farmers & Artists Market in Olney, Maryland is a true passion of hers. Open on Sundays from 9-1, it is full of 75 vendors, live chef demos, a fitness activity, children’s activities, and more. But it’s what all of those things are doing that makes her the most proud.
She has a passion for fighting obesity – and by giving vendors who sell healthy food the opportunity to bring a little green into the homes of the people who attend the market, she knows she is helping in that fight.
Janet would love the opportunity to interview – and show around the farmer’s market – Michelle Obama. No surprise since they both have a passion to stop obesity and encourage our children to enjoy eating healthy foods. At her market, those children also have the opportunity to learn about business. Each week, they make a craft, and then set up a stand to sell it.
Janet Terry’s goal of making a difference in people’s lives clearly happens every day – both through her work informing the citizens of D.C. of the news they need to know, and creating a healthier community for those folks to live in.