Getting on TV.

Author:Duperon, Shawne
Position:Marketing - Television assignment editors

Local television assignment editors are inundated with hundreds of faxes, e-mails and press kits every day from companies vying for free television face-time. Here are some tips for getting their attention:

Who to call--99 percent of television wannabe's send their information to assignment editors at the assignment desk. The chances of your story getting past that desk into a reporter's hands, or making it to the coveted morning news meeting for a pitch, are almost nil. Instead ...

* Call reporters direct. If your idea is a business story, contact the business reporter. If you have a medical story, call the medical reporter. Most stations have niche reporters that cover a specific beat.

* Here in Detroit, many of those beat reporters have their own producer. The producer makes a lot of story decisions and can ultimately get your story on the air.

* Call your news anchors. Anchors have lots of clout in a newsroom and if they are sold on your story pitch, they will make sure it gets airtime.

When to call and not to call--Newsrooms are very busy just before a newscast and during actual airtime. Never call during the newscast and never call at least one hour prior to the show. For the evening news, stretch that time even more. If your local news starts at 5 p.m., don't call after 3 p.m. Instead...

* First, find out what time each news station has their morning editorial meeting. If you can catch your reporter BEFORE they go into the morning meeting, they may pitch your story.

* Other opportune times? Right after any newscast. If your reporter was on the air at noon, chances are high they'll be back at the station by 12:45 p.m.

* If your station has a 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. newscast, try reaching reporters right around 7:30 p.m. The key is reaching them live, rather than leaving a message.

One last piece of advice: Don't leave a string of messages. Instead ...

Leave one message and keep trying to reach them in person. When you finally do reach them, and before you jump into your story pitch, ask permission. You're letting them know you realize they're on tight deadlines.



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