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Four Ways to Strengthen Relationships with the Media

Meghan Reilly

PRSA Chicago Young Professionals Network (YPN) held its bi-monthly workshop last night on Strengthening Relationships with the Media.  As a newbie to PRSA Chicago and YPN events, I was excited to attend this workshop – along with fellow Media Relations Specialist, Emily Johnson.

The YPN event featured a panel of traditional and digital media experts who discussed how public relations professionals can build and strengthen relationships with their media contacts. The panel consisted of Michael Lev, Associate Managing Business Editor at the Chicago Tribune, Kathryn Janicek, Executive Producer at NBC Universal, and Christie Shein, Senior Account Supervisor at MSLGROUP.

Here are the four takeaways that I learned from the YPN workshop on Strengthening Relationships with the Media:

1. “Be passionate about what you do”

Reporters and public relations professionals alike have the ability to look at a confusing world and analyze it. The only way to successfully do this is by having a passion for what you do. The media is interested in cultivating relationships with positive and dedicated PR professionals.  Strive for a life and career that’s all encompassing.

2. “Be as helpful to us, as we are to you”

To develop long term relationships and connections with the media, research is essential. Know the reporter’s beat and what they like to write about.  When you offer something valuable, journalists are more likely to call again and listen to your ideas.

 3. “Reporters are desperate too!”

PR professionals must have a “nose for news”. When a story breaks, reporters can be desperate for sources. The media doesn’t care about tomorrow’s press release or pitch - the story will already be dead. Timely PR contacts with available sources are one step closer to earning a placement in the New York Times.

 4. “Trust reporters to ‘get it right’”

Journalists appreciate public relations professionals for setting up interviews and bringing new ideas to the table. However, they need to understand that journalists are independent and responsible for what they do. They place a strong emphasis on fact checking and producing an accurate story. It’s the media’s job to inform their readers and maintain the audience’s trust.

If you’re interested in growing as a public relations professional, register for some great upcoming YPN workshops. For more information, go to