You send your pitch to the newsroom of a television station and you wait. Unfortunately, waiting isn’t the best strategy for getting cameras to your event or announcement. But can you really call a newsroom and ask if they will come? Yes, you can!
Most media outlets have the phone number for the newsroom on their website. If you can’t find it, call the main switchboard and they should have that information. Once you have the number, now what? When you call the newsroom, you can anticipate:
- Newsrooms are BUSY! The newsroom is handling breaking news, produced segments for upcoming broadcasts, listening to the scanners and talking to colleagues. That’s a lot to deal with so when you call, know that they are in the eye of the storm all day and night. The phone rings all the time so when you call, it won’t be a surprise. Remember to be brief and on point. (“Will you be sending cameras to the kids day at the park?”)
- Submitted press releases and media alerts sometimes go missing. The person who answers the phone may not know what you are talking about. If that is the case, ask if you can resend it and the best way to do that (email or fax). Nothing personal but they get dozens of email and faxes each day and sometimes things fall through the cracks.
- Things change rapidly. The station said it will send cameras to cover your event. You do a happy dance. Then hours later, no one showed up. Why? Didn’t they say they would send cameras? Yes, they did but then things changed. Breaking news happened. Train derailment, home fire, bank robbery. Anything that was more relevant occurred. That happens sometimes.
Don’t be afraid to call the newsroom and follow up on a submitted press release or media alert. Sometimes that can be a factor in whether you or someone else gets coverage.