This post is about spreading love and sharing potentially useful tips.
I’m lucky. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some amazing reporters and bloggers in my career.
So, in an effort to help journalists build lasting relationships with flaks, I want to single out a few people I admire and describe what about their behaviour has helped me do my job.
“Jackson Wightman, you’re a shameless, ass-kissing milksop,” you say.
Actually, no. This post is meant for YOU dear member of the fourth estate. It aims to help YOU build better relationships with PR people so that you’ll receive more interesting story ideas.
BTW, the list you see below could be MUCH longer. Lots of journalists from diverse outlets have been great to my clients and I over the years, so if you are not on this list it don’t mean I ain’t got love for ya. My time and space are simply limited.
Moreover, that the folks mentioned below all happen to be women and work for “old media” print publications is pure coincidence.
Without further ado, here are four Canadian journalists other reporters could learn from:
Caroline Alphonso: Caroline has always been a pleasure to deal with on a human level. We’ve worked together on several occasions and I’ve been fortunate to have her positively receive a number of story pitches. But Caroline’s rejections stand out. She’s very forthcoming about the reasons she rejects certain story pitches. This explanatory approach is much more helpful than the “non-response” tactic employed far too often by many. I know you, the journalist, are busy. But the more feedback you give the better the material you’ll be offered next time.
Carol Goar: It’s been awhile since I dealt with Carol. We are about as politically opposite as two people can get. I’ll never forget her old-school integrity though. She was adamant about never accepting anything that might be construed as a favour or gift. That is to say, she would show up at luncheon events we’d host but never eat. She wouldn’t even have coffee if we were providing it. In a world of swag and freebies her uncompromising nature stands out.
Tracey Tong: Tracey has always been great with my team. The thing that stands out the most is her ability to get the facts and details right. In PR we need journalists to excel at this. This means making sure you get my client’s name right and, if you’re including a website address in a piece, spelling it correctly! It’s amazing that stupid, careless mistakes happen so frequently in an era where PR people tend to OVERLOAD reporters with home made propaganda (press kits, online newsrooms, etc). I know dear journalist that you are busy and overworked. But please, take a lesson from Tracey Tong and do due diligence on the details!
Amy Verner: I’ve never worked with this fashionista. She wouldn’t know me from a hole in the ground. However, my exchanges with her stand out. I can recall researching what Amy wrote about and pitching her on two occasions. Both times, even though I had done homework, she said the idea did not fit with her beat. She then recommended who I should approach (in both cases her recommendations bore fruit). Amy could have ignored me, even told me I was an idiot. But she took the time to point me in the right direction after seeing that I’d made an effort. It probably took her 2 minutes to do this but it won’t be forgotten. If I ever have something cool related to fashion, you can guess who’s getting the first crack at a print exclusive.
Wherever you live, are there names you can add to this list?