The amount of time that a news outlet is able to devote to stories varies greatly.
Newswire services such as Associated Press will file immediately following a press briefing or another event, then continue to file updated versions of the same story two or three times later that day.
Newspapers will file the same day that a news story breaks unless it is for a more indepth piece. When working on a same-day news story, be sure to have all your information, contact numbers and key spokespeople available for reporters immediately. Deadlines usually fall around 3 PM.
Investigative Journalists. Many national newspapers have investigative reporters who will spend weeks researching various aspects of a story in which they have interest. When approaching these journalists, be prepared to work with them in an exclusive manner, feeding them information over the course of a few weeks.
Magazines (Features) which have targeted readerships such as women, parents, or men have significantly longer lead times. There is very little breaking news in these magazines and they tend to spend a great deal of time researching and writing stories. Typical lead times could be 2-6 months, and you should feel confident trusting them with an embargo (they depend on getting information early).
News Magazines (Weeklies) such as Newseek, Time, or US News & World Report usually come out on Mondays and should be approached a few weeks in advance unless the issue is particularly time-sensitive. They usually have Friday deadlines.
Television Features or Magazines such as 20/20 or Dateline usually work on a story for one or two months. Like magazines, they also may not be able to tell you whether they are interested for a day or two.
Television News shows that air nightly or at noon, and local or national news have a much shorter news cycle - same day for breaking news or a few weeks for longer, feature or investigative stories.
Back to Types of Media.