2013 AACUL Communicators Conference

The Six ‘Rs’ of Communication

Nationally known journalist shares how to make inroads with reporters.

September 30, 2013

Before you pitch stories to the media, make sure you have the right story and that you pitch it to the right editor in the right format, advises Elisabeth Leamy, a nationally known journalist and author who’s a regular contributor to ABC News and “Good Morning America.”

Elisabeth Leamy
Elisabeth Leamy: Give your story visual appeal.

She addressed the 2013 American Association of Credit Union Leagues’ Communicators Conference Thursday in Chicago.

In addition to pitching the “1. Right” story to the media, Leamy offers these additional “Rs” to help communicators get their stories published or broadcast:

2. Righteous. Make sure your story is newsworthy. “It has to benefit the audience and the journalist,” she says. “It can't just benefit you or your organization.”

3. Razzle dazzle. Give your story some visual appeal or some type of surprising element. “Engage the reader’s or viewer’s emotions,” Leamy advises. “Good pieces of investigative journalist do this. And it doesn't hurt to have a famous person speaking on your behalf.”

4. Real people. Your story must relate to real people. “If it’s of interest to a very small section of society, it probably won't make it,” she says.

5. Resource. Be a resource for the reporter by providing background information and additional research that backs up your story. Help the reporter with visual enhancements to your story.

6. Repeat. If you have the right story and your media contact didn't pick it up—keep trying.

“Reporters are very busy people and are often under tight deadline pressure,” Leamy says. “It’s entirely possible they missed your e-mail or phone call. If you believe in your story, be persistent.”