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Chicago Tribune’s Robert Channick Visits the Walker Sands Office

Robert Channick, a media reporter for the Chicago Tribune, stopped by on Wednesday to conduct a Q&A session with the Walker Sands staff. Not only did Channick talk about his career and give background stories on some of the articles he’s written at the Tribune, but he also shared insight on his interactions with public relations specialists.

“I think it’s collaborative. Once you develop a relationship and trust, it’s a nice interchange,” says Channick.

And that interchange begins in his inbox. Channick revealed that he receives 150-200 emails every morning. Though he was unable to give a specific number, Channick said that a lot of them are pitches, “I really try to read them all. I’m glad they’re there, but it’s a time-consuming process.”

WS reporter chat

When it comes to pitching, Channick stated the best times to pitch him are “in the morning and late morning. Mid-afternoon is good. Late afternoon is the absolute worst because we’re all on deadline.”

Channick added that the pitches that get his attention the most are personalize pitches and those with “an exclusive line on something. Breaking news is a value.”

The relationship between journalists and public relations specialists continues to evolve over time, which is something Channick concluded in his chat, “It’s busier than ever. There’s a lot more interaction, more today than even a year ago.”

Here are four tips that Channick offered when pitching to reporters:

  1. Get the person’s name right.
  2. Make sure the subject line is compelling.
  3. Be specific to the beat.
  4. Avoid too much jargon.

Do you have any media relations advice? Tweet us @WalkerSands.