Buzz had dinner with two TV news reporters (and members of their camera/production team) the other night and in between “please pass the salt” and an insider’s discussion about newsroom politics, he had to ask about pitching stories. As it turns out, it’s just as hard for TV reporters to convince “the desk,” as they call it, that an idea is newsworthy as it is for those on the PR side.
They talked of meetings where their enthusiastic story suggestions fell with a thud and the familiar editor’s deadpan “that’s not a story.”
But they still suggest going straight to a reporter – “it makes us look good…that we have sources,” rather than heading straight to the assignment desk. So often they’ll be at planning meetings and seeing the big shots from “the desk” flipping through page after page of emails and press releases. You’re better off having a reporter advocate for the story, they counseled.
Buzz has had success on both sides – going to the assignment desk as well as directly to a reporter – but it’s always helpful to hear it straight from the source. In this case, real-world TV reporters who are in the trenches and always on the lookout for a good story.