Chip Shots by Chip Griffin

The Challenge of Being Part of the Media

It’s very odd to switch sides.  OK, I haven’t really switched sides exactly, but I am now on both sides of the fence.  Let me explain.  For much of my career, I have been involved in public affairs and public relations, first in government, then in the non-profit sector, then as a consultant/advisor, and finally as a vendor.  In all those jobs, my focus was on educating — and hopefully influencing — the media.

And now I have a venture that is the media.  Cork & Knife is a multimedia magazine I founded earlier this summer to serve those interested in fine food and drink.  It has truly been an education to be on the other side of the fence.  Reaching out to companies to get quotes.  Dealing with PR practitioners who want to have their material published.

Of course, as a blogger with some degree of reputation, I have had to deal with this a bit already.  Like most bloggers with any links at all, I get pitches every week from one company or another.  In addition, as someone who does some angel investing, I get inquiries that are somewhere between a plea for coverage and a request for an investment.

But this is different.  I find myself now in the position of doing things in reverse of the way I have always done it.  For instance, I am building a list of publicists for restaurants, wineries, and others involved in the food and drink industry in order to educate them about Cork & Knife.  Like every other media publication, I want original stories.  And as someone who has been on the other side of the fence, I know that PR people have the information and interest in supplying tips, leads, and content. 

But how to do that exactly?  I know how to build media lists. There are plenty of services that do that. But for a fledgling media outlet or publication, reaching out to PR practitioners is a whole different ball game. 

If I have any readers with suggestions, advice, or comments, I’d certainly welcome them.  The whole experience gives me a brand new appreciation for the working media.  It’s certainly a tough job, but I’m enjoying it.  Of course, it is challenging to head up more than one company at a time. But I’ve been doing it for years with a fair amount of success, so hopefully I can continue doing it.

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  1. Interesting that you’re learning new skills as you go along. Reckon we all need to learn some new skills to capitalise on Web developments and how to use for PR advantage.
    We knew where we were with press releases and print titles, now there’s a host of other online audiences to engage with, so brain matter having to work a bit, which is good for us PRs.
    As for advice, let me know if you get an answer to your question.

  2. I remember when I worked as a senior producer at CBS We had a fax line dedicated to receiving press releases. It spat out paper after paper all day long. But what the senders didn’t realize is the machine was positioned on the edge of a desk so that all the papers fed directly into a trash can.
    In my experience, sending out press releases with no real human contact rarely works. Sure, there’s PR Newsire, but other than that, no one will care.
    Instead, I’ve always had much more luck calling up a reporter and pitching a story.
    No matter how much technology changes the game, old fashioned human contact still matters most.

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