Communicating With Media Contacts [PRSSA National Conference]

Rick Leventhal, senior correspondent with Fox News, has reported on major events of the past two decades, including traveling the globe to report on war and international crises. From the BP oil spill to hurricanes and other natural disasters, Leventhal’s 24 years of reporting allow him to offer a unique perspective on domestic and international turmoil. Leventhal presented a keynote address during the PRSSA 2011 National Conference.

Some of Leventhal’s words of wisdom for public relations students includes: 

• Take journalism classes. It’s important to understand where the other side is coming from.

• Every person has a story. Viewers can identify those stories.

• Pets and animals work on TV. Find a way to package it and you’ll get more attention.

• If an email is not addressed personally, it’s often discarded.

• Include information related to what the journalist has done in the past and why they’ll be interested in the story.

• Be as brief as possible.

• Get an internship in production at a station as a way to network for future opportunities.

• Get to know the journalist.  Invite them to an outing where you won’t pitch anything.

• Two emails a week is good contact. Two emails a day is too much.

This is a guest post by Saint John Fisher College Chapter member, Josue Cornier.


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