We would all like to think that newsrooms are waiting around for us to call and pitch them a story or fax over a press release. This is not the case. The newsroom is continuously active all day and all night. However, there are opportune times to contact the newsroom to pitch your story.
- Newsrooms have cycles based on broadcasts. If you want to get on the morning show, they may book as much as 3 weeks in advance. Email or fax your release to the producer directly. You can call the media outlet to get a name and email address.
- News broadcasts obviously share stories that happened that day. However, if you have an event, you still need to send the information a week in advance. If you want to get cameras to cover an event for the evening news, email or fax the newsroom between 1pm and 3pm. Call the station to see when the meeting for the evening news happens and get an exact time.
- Once you send the information, you have to call the newsroom to see if they received it. If they did, ask if it is “on the board” for the evening. The “board” is the list of current news stories the station potentially could cover for the evening. If anything big like a fire or large car accident comes up, they will disregard stories to allow for that coverage. That means your feel good story could get deleted even if it is on the list.
- Weekends are skeleton crews at a newsroom. That means you generally have a harder time getting coverage during the weekend for your story because there is not enough staff to respond. Doesn’t mean you should not do an event on the weekend, but keep in mind that it doesn’t make it easier for cameras to come out and cover it.
Newsrooms are hectic and fast paced. You have to really stand out to get a story covered. You also have to do a certain amount of follow up with the newsroom. If you have an idea of when they make decision on programming, you can attempt to get exposure by contacting them at the right time. Good luck!