Wednesday, November 23, 2005

"Reporter of the Month" story from Joan Stewart

The "Reporter of the Month" story that I've copied below from Joan Stewart's e-newsletter is interesting. As a reporter, I can vouch for the fact that we're flattered when people make informed comments about our work.

Her story starts here:

1. Reporter of the Month Club
If you don't have a big PR budget, you'll love this idea.

In fact, it's so cool, I wish I had thought of it myself.
It's called the "Reporter of the Month Club" and Dean Rotbart,

a former Wall Street Journal columnist, deserves credit for

suggesting it. Dean is head of the TJFR group and sells

journalists' bios at
Here's how the "Reporter of the Month Club" works. Each month,

you choose one reporter who works at a newspaper, magazine or

newsletter you want to get into--preferably, a journalist

who has influence in your industry.
Then you spend the entire month studying that reporter. 
Study the topics they've written about. Make note of

the sources they've contacted. In fact, if you notice that

they quoted one source over and over, call that source

and find out how they started to build the
relationship with the journalist.
At the end of the month, you'll know so much about that reporter that 
when you call or email her for the first time to introduce yourself, you can
refer to her stories or other observations about her work.
In an article I found at the ClickZ website, Dean says: "Once you get 
to know them, send a note commenting specifically on one of their stories.
Write as an intelligent and cogent reader. Explain why the article was
helpful. You can add a note about you and your expertise, the key is 
being subtle. Maybe after a couple of these intelligent notes, you can call.
Journalists are flattered by someone who knows their work and chose 
them above all others."
He's right. About 99 percent of the people who contacted me during my 
two decades in the newspaper business wanted something. People who used my
name when they called got one point. If they pronounced my tricky last
name correctly, they got two points. If they told me they read one of 
my stories, I started paying attention. If they told me they'd been 
following me for years and quoted a few stories that were their favorites, they
practically won my heart.
Journalists are like that. So stop sweating the small stuff like how 
wide the margins have to be on your news releases. Instead, start a 
"Reporter of the Month Club." And be sure to tell me about your successes so I 
can share them with the rest of the Hounds.
Make "The Reporter of the Month Club" one of your resolutions for 2006. 
I have 9 more to consider, and they're mentioned in the November/December
issue of The Publicity Hound subscription newsletter. It also includes 
6 ideas on how to write world-class news releases, how to get your 
product on the QVC Channel, tips on how to publicize a speaking engagement, the
correct way to follow up with book reviewers, where to find cheap 
sample copies of magazines, the protocol of posting blog comments, a search
engine trick to position yourself as an expert, a book that features
contact information for more than 2,000 journalists, creative publicity
tips for authors, November/December story ideas, and tips from the
editorial director of OverTime magazine on how to pitch his magazine
that's read by professional athletes.
Reprinted from "The Publicity Hound's Tips of the Week," a free ezine
featuring tips, tricks and tools for generating free publicity. 
Subscribe at and receive free by email the handy 
list "89 Reasons to Send a News Release."



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