Track the News Cycle — Wisely

Track the News Cycle — Wisely

News seems to happen faster than ever today. Over the course of three days last week, Americans grappled with the midterm elections, a tragic mass-shooting, and deadly wildfires in California.

It’s tempting — and often a good idea — to tie your pitch to the latest news. But make sure to do so wisely and respectfully.

First, be realistic about whether your pitch has a legitimate connection to the dominant news story. The day after the midterms is not the best time to pitch what consumers will “elect” to purchase for their loved ones this holiday season.

Second, be sensitive to the gravity of the news cycle. Reporters might be amenable to insight on the root causes of the California wildfires in their immediate aftermath. But save your pitch on home fire-safety tips for some time after the blazes are under control.

Third, be appropriate. A reporter who covers the stock prices of weapons manufacturers may be interested in incisive commentary on the financial outlook for gun makers following a shooting. A journalist covering the tragedy on the ground will not be.

When news is happening fast, an expert source who can provide relevant context or background can be a lifesaver for a journalist trying to get up to speed. But “expert” and “relevant” are the keys — a seemingly timely pitch is not enough.

Robby Schrum