Want to cultivate a positive working relationship with the press?
Know the media outlet’s focus and audience, provide fresh story angles, and, above all, don’t be boring.
So say Lauren French (above left), a tax policy reporter for Politico; Ylan Mui, a financial reporter for The Washington Post; and Tucker Carlson, Fox News commentator and editor of the website, The Daily Caller. They served on a panel discussion hosted by veteran broadcast journalist Paul Berry Monday afternoon.
Often the biggest mistake organizations make when approaching the media is timidity, Carlson says. Don’t be afraid to share what makes you unique—such as the difference between banks and credit unions.
“How hard is it? Banks are the greedy, reckless ones—and you’re not them,” he says. “You played by the rules and helped your members. It’s not like you’re part of the asbestos industry or you want to put lead in the water.
“The problem isn’t the story,” he adds, “it’s the reluctance to share it. Wusses get crushed.”
French asks one simple question when deciding whether to pursue a story: why? “Why is your story compelling? Why now? You need a time stamp.
Also, know the publication’s audience and focus.
“Politico is a niche publication,” French says. “When pitching someone, know who you’re talking to and what you want from them. If you reach out to me, sell me on the story.”
Freshness is another important consideration, Mui says. “We’re providing fresher content and helping people sift through mass amounts of information. We can’t publish yesterday’s news.”
She also advises credit unions to share their expertise on topics that don’t directly involve the institution, such as articles about inflation or general financial issues.
“That increases your name recognition. There are many ways to get your name out there.”
And when all else fails? “Flattery,” Mui says, is always a good option.”