Advice from the Media | Kevin Bushweller

Name: Kevin Bushweller Title: Executive Editor Media Outlet: Education Week Digital Directions (Publisher is Editorial Projects in Education Inc.) Twitter Handle: @kbushweller Web site: www.digitaldirections.org 1) Describe your typical workday in 140 characters or less. There is no typical day, seriously. One day, I might be giving a keynote speech at a national conference. And the next day I might be scrambling to get a magazine issue out the door. 2) What's the best pitch you've ever received? Let me re-frame the question: Who are the best pitch artists? They are the PR folks who think like journalists. They see how their products or services fit within a bigger picture story or trend. 3) The greatest words of wisdom an editor ever gave you? “You are only as good as your next story.” Generating original ideas is key to survival. 4) If there was one thing you could tell every PR practitioner, what would it be? If you sound like everyone else, you will not get my attention. 5) What's your craziest or most interesting newsroom story? I arrived in New York City on Sept. 10, 2001, to work on a story about the psychological impact on a high school teacher who was violently assaulted by a student. I drove to school with the teacher the next morning, arriving in Manhattan on a beautiful day not knowing what was happening above us in the air. I spent the day at the school, working on a breaking story for Education Week’s web site about what it was like to be in a school near the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001. I also used the day to observe how the teacher I was visiting handled the stress. The story about the teacher appeared in Teacher Magazine and Education Week several weeks later and eventually won a national writing award from the Education Writers Association.

PR Tips | Let’s Not Call It a Sales Pitch

Selling your product is a crucial part of any business -- and the process often starts with the "sales pitch." Although I don't think of selling that way. For starters, the very term "sales pitch" carries a stigma. It makes you think of cheesy salespeople desperate to "close the deal." Selling is my job, but I try not to pitch. I don't want to create awkward pressure. Instead, I  remind myself that the sales call isn't salesy at all -- it's simply a casual conversation introducing my product and my company to someone new . . .  so they know I'm here and understand my product. Because I have a good product, there's a high chance that the person I've called will eventually need what I'm selling, even if he doesn't need it right now. (This assumes I've done my research and called the right person.) My job is to let him know that my product exists and, if he's interested, to help him understand its benefits.

Advice from the Media | David Freddoso

Name: David Freddoso Title: Editorial Page Editor Media Outlet: Washington Examiner Twitter Handle: @freddoso 1)Describe your typical workday in 140 characters or less. I write editorials, edit columns, select opeds, assign features, deal with various administrative issues, write columns and blog posts when I can, and promote our stuff on Twitter. 2) What's the best pitch you've ever received? Pitches are completely unmemorable to me, so the shortest are the best. If it isn't immediately obvious why I should care, then I don't have time. So see #4. 3) The greatest words of wisdom an editor ever gave you? If you can say it in nine words, you can say it in seven. And if you can say it in seven words, you can probably say it in five. 4) If there were one thing you could tell every PR practitioner, what would it be? If you're going to bother me, make it good. If it's good, I'll run it. If I haven't run your piece after several calls, there's probably a reason, although sometimes things do slip through the cracks. 5) What's your craziest or most interesting newsroom story? When Phil Klein won the Andrew Breitbart award for professional journalism, I tweeted to congratulate, adding that I needed his column in five minutes or he was fired. I heard him burst out laughing from the next room.

Profiles in PR | Linsey Godbey

Your Name: Linsey Godbey Your Position: Director of Marketing Your Business: e+CancerCare Company Website: epluscancercare.com Twitter handle: @Linsey_june (personal) Services You Offer: Working in partnership with physicians and hospitals, e+CancerCare operates a growing network of outpatient cancer care centers in markets across the country. Personally, I’m responsible for planning, development and implementation of all marketing strategies, marketing communications, and public relations activities, both internal and external. Your Niche Area of Expertise: Communications Strategy, Branding Development, Public Relations, Jokes (self-proclaimed) How Did You Get Started in This Business? After a brief stint as a pre-med student at West Virginia University, I quickly found a new home in the Journalism School, which was a much more natural fit. I moved to Washington, D.C., right out of college and landed a job as an executive assistant at GolinHarris, a global PR firm. Fast forward down the road four years, and I’m working as a senior account executive on the McDonald’s account. My next stop was the United States Senate, where I worked as a deputy press secretary for Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) for two and a half years. The assorted mix of skills and proficiencies I had to use during those two positions gave me a great communications/marketing/PR foundation – and I’m still learning more every day!

PR Tips | Avoid Beercan Prose

Avoid beercan prose, especially if you're writing content intended for publication in the news. Do you know what beercan prose is? Of course not. That's because the word "beercan" tells you...

PR Tips | The Fine Line Between Persistent and Obnoxious

In public relations -- and life in general -- there's a fine line between regularly contacting a person and annoying the heck out of someone. I reach out to dozens of reporters and editors every day. So I’m constantly straddling this line. When pitching a story, how many times should I follow up with a journalist? How frequently should I call or email? There is no simple answer to these questions. But here’s what I’ve learned in the course of doing it on a daily basis: The hotter the story, the more aggressive the pitch. If I’m pitching an oped by Joe Biden on how he negotiated the fiscal cliff deal, I’d be doing editors a huge favor by calling them every hour, because I can guarantee that every editor in town would kill to have that piece in today’s paper. Alternatively, if I’m pitching a story about a new flavor of dog food, I’ll be far more selective and careful not to annoy journalists who aren’t interested. Either way, most people don't mind an occasional "follow up." But when they’re busy -- especially editors at top publications -- following up too frequently could put your name on the X-list. And your client's piece in the trash bin.

Advice from the Media | Deroy Murdock

Name: Deroy Murdock Title: Nationally syndicated columnist Media Outlet: Scripps Howard News Service Twitter Handle: Real men don't Tweet! Personal Blog: I do not blog. I write articles. 1) Describe your typical workday in 140 characters or less. Woke up. Got out of bed. Dragged a comb across my head. Spent day worrying about the world and thinking up solutions to its problems. 2) What's the best pitch you've ever received? When Stefan Gleason was spokesman for the National Right to Work Committee, he always could get me to write about Big Labor bosses by giving me examples of union violence. He would mention someone who got his tires slashed or face rearranged by some union thugs. Like tossing a Frisbee before a Labrador, I immediately would run in whatever direction Gleason wanted. To mix metaphors, Gleason knew how to push this button, and he did it perfectly and repeatedly. 3) The greatest words of wisdom an editor ever gave you? I once asked Scripps Howard's Jay Ambrose how to handle some situation. He said, "Well, Deroy, as long as we're trying to do the right thing." I always thought that was a worthy and achievable standard that also recognized that we journalists are neither perfect nor saintly. 4) If there were one thing you could tell every PR practitioner, what would it be? Take care of the small things, and the big ones fall into place. If you have an event in New York City, for God's sake, include the cross street in the address. Where on Earth is 350 Fifth Avenue? I have NO idea. Ah. It's at West 34th Street. Thank you for sparing me from having to look that up, which just make me grind my molars. Don't just tell me that an event is on December 10. Tell me it's on Monday, December 10. I may know right away that Mondays are always bad for me. So, I quickly can decline an invitation, without having to stop, grab my calendar, leaf through it, and finally learn that this is on a Monday. Then, in a fit of frustration at the publicist's inexactitude, I must send my regrets, while also grinding my molars into mandibular dust. Also, don't call us commentators "reporters." We all are journalists. But commentators are not reporters, any more than surgeons are dermatologists, although they all are doctors. Yes, refer broadly to all of us as journalists. But some of us specifically are commentators. Some are reporters. You also have editors, producers, bookers, and others. Calling us all reporters is inaccurate, irritating, and indicative of a lack of sophistication among those who make this annoying mistake.