List Organization and Contents
While there is no single way to organize media lists, there are several key points to remember:
Contacts. Each news outlet usually has one main contact name, fax number, phone number, and email address (if available). The best contacts at TV stations are usually assignment editors or futures editors. For newspapers, the contact should be a reporter covering a specific beat or region. For talk radio, it is the producer.
Details. Each issue you tackle is bound to appeal most to one type of reporter, radio show, or other media representative. If you do not already have the name, number, title, and contact information for the person you think will be most interested, call the outlet and ask. After you find the proper person, be sure to note that person's particular interests, or a show's format on your media list.
Update. Reporters change beats and some broadcast outlets change formats. Keep up with the changes. It is easier to sell a story if you can explain why your story should be done by a specific outlet. Schedule updates of your media list so you don't waste time when pitching or approaching the wrong media or inappropriate contacts.
Annotate. Once you work with a media contact, keep important notes about the outlet and the reporters you are targeting. Chilling words to hear: Have you ever read my column, or I don't cover that issue anymore. Your notes should include information on the outlet's usual deadlines, a reporter's personal likes and dislikes, articles the reporter has written about your organization's issues, and any other information that will help you effectively communicate with each journalist.
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