How Did Our Pros Fare Among the Sharks?

    Each year, PRSA Hampton Roads hosts a media panel so representatives from a variety of media entities can share tips for pitching stories to help us maximize coverage. This year, we shook things up with a shark tank-style program at The Virginian-Pilot that featured three public relations professionals pitching story ideas in person to a panel of five sharks (also known as journalists). So, did our pros survive or was it a feast for our “finned” friends?

    It turns out that all three of our PRSA pros walked away victorious with multiple offers of creative ways to gain coverage for their programs. But, the question remains, if you're not able to pitch to a panel of editors and producers face-to-face, what can you do to garner media coverage? Here's some advice from our panelists:

    • When determining if your story is newsworthy, evaluate it with these seven news values in mind: impact, timeliness, prominence, proximity, conflict, currency and human interest.
    • For TV coverage, it's all about the visuals. Do you have high-quality photos and video that they can share? 
    • Make stories that are evergreen. Many times, news entities quickly need stories to fill space or airtime. Can your story run at any time?
    • Timing is key. Learn about editorial calendars and make your pitches at the right time. Be aware of other events taking place at the same time that could take away coverage of your event (i.e., don't pitch a random event scheduled for election day).  


    We would like to give thank our media panelists: Dan Cawley, executive producer at WTKR News 3, Nate Delesline, III, assistant editor of Inside Business, Barbara Hamm Lee, executive producer of Another View, Jamesetta Walker, features editor for The Virginian-Pilot and Stephanie Walters, independent producer and TV host. We send kudos to our PRSA members who bravely pitched their stories: Meg Forsberg of Girls on the Run Hampton Roads (assisted by Ellen Carver), Holly Christopher of the City of Norfolk Recreation, Parks & Open Space and Rob Wyman of NASA Langley Research Center. We appreciate Dan Duke, Virginian-Pilot assistant features editor, for leading our newsroom tour. And, we thank our program co-chair Zsavonne Perryman of Ferguson Enterprises for pulling this program together. 

    For additional ways to perfect your pitch, check out these resources:

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