#AskTheJournalist

For the first edition of Sports PR’s new series, #AskTheJournalist, we talked with some of the top female sports journalists in the country to find out:  “What is your best advice for PR pros to more effectively pitch reporters?”


Here are the top five takeaways:

1. Be selective

“Don’t bombard people with press release after press release,” said Michelle Kaufman, Sportswriter at the Miami Herald. “Be more selective. Rather than just send a press release, tell the reporter here is an angle, here is what your story could be. Every day when I get a press release from somebody, I tend to just start deleting them before I even read them. There are some people who are really good at their job, and they’re very selective. I know that if I get an email from them, it is going to be something worth reading.”

2. Do your research

“My tip for PR pros is to know what I write before you pitch me, so that you can tailor your pitch based on what I do and not what you want me to write about,” said Sarah Kogod, Director of Development for SB Nation. “I get a lot of pitches that don’t actually talk about what I do for a living or what I write. So, read a couple of my stories first, and then tailor your pitch based on that.”

3. Show excitement (!)

“Present it with enthusiasm,” said Rhiannon Walker, Associate Editor at ESPN’s The Undefeated. “If you present anything with enthusiasm to me, I’m more likely to listen. If you don’t sound like you’re that interested in the idea you’re pitching to me, I promise you I’m not going to be that interested in the idea that you’re pitching to me. And, if it’s written, not too many exclamation points, but I’m a fan of exclamation points. Use some exclamation points. Explain to me why this is important. Why will my readership care about this? Why will this benefit you, me and everyone else in between?”

4. Keep it real

“Be authentic,” said Joanne Gerstner, Sports Journalist in Residence at Michigan State University. “Don’t try to sell me something that is over-pitched or you can’t deliver. Being truthful with what you’re doing and what’s going on helps me be truthful with my editors and we can get a better story. Honesty always is the best policy.”

5. Create a pitch worth selling for a story worth telling

“Have a good eye for stories,” said Gina Mizell, Oregon State Football Reporter for The Oregonian. “As sports journalists, we don’t always know every single little intricate thing going on with a team or with a program, so, if there is a great, unique, cool story, let us know about it. Just make sure you’re contacting the right person because sometimes my inbox gets filled with pitches that actually shouldn’t go to me.”