Advice from the Media | Chelsea Glenn Fuller
1) Describe your typical workday in 140 characters or less.
Reporting days: Receive daily assignments, go do the interviews, come back and write. Editing days: Edit news copy, design, layout and proof pages.
2) What’s the best pitch you’ve ever received?
I would have to say the best pitch/scoop I’ve received thus far was from an elderly lady who bombarded my office with calls that my superiors brushed off. When I finally talked to her, she informed me that she lived in a large apartment complex for low income seniors. Many residents at the complex received free lunch from a local state funded senior center. For most of the residents the lunch was their only hot meal of the day, and the number of lunches served was cut significantly without any explanation from the center or the apartment complex. That one scoop turned into seven top strip front page stories that exposed the agency’s mishandling of the meal program. Words of wisdom: Don’t ever totally disregard a pitch/scoop without listening to it first because you never know where your next big story will come from.
3) What are the greatest words of wisdom an editor ever gave you?
My first editor told me that I should never assume that my readers already know what I am writing about… even the simplest things that appear self-explanatory. She always reminded me that it is not just my job, but my responsibility to be thorough and to produce accurate content that people can trust. After making a classic junior reporter mistake (I failed to double check the spelling of a source’s name), she told me that taking extra time to double check sources, spelling and grammar are simple things that can separate good reporters from great reporters. There hasn’t been a single day in my career that I haven’t remembered those words.
4) If there was one thing you could tell every PR practitioner, what would it be?
Don’t underestimate the value of creating strong ties with reporters. Many PR professionals just send blanket releases to media outlets for the sake of convenience. But you would be surprised at the difference sending a personalized release can make. Good, relationships with reporters can be the difference between getting coverage for your client and having your release sent to the bottom of the stack.
5) What’s your craziest or most interesting newsroom story?
I actually work in a relatively calm newsroom. It’s pretty mellow. I can’t think of anything that really stands out as crazy, but I have seen some very interesting people ( like U.S. Senator John Raese and Tuskegee Airman John M. Watson) casually walk through the newsroom.
6) What sets your reporting apart from the competition?
As a news reporter, you are supposed to answer the basic “who, what, where, when, why and how” of every story, and many reporters simply stop there. I have been successful at crafting new stories and news features that provide readers with the hard-hitting information they need to understand exactly what is going on, but I also include the voices of real people; those who are affected by whatever is being reported.