Resolutions for a New Academic Year

In her post earlier this month about new (academic) year’s resolutions, Erin Hennessy inspired me—as she often does—to come up with a few of my own. So, as the 2015-16 fall semester gets underway, here are a few things I plan to do to ensure this year is even more successful than the last. Send fewer pitches. This may seem counterintuitive, particularly since my goal is to increase coverage. But simply pitching more stories isn’t necessarily the means to that end. Firing off story ideas … Read more…

Stewart’s Sign Off Marks End of News Era

Today marks the end of era for political news junkies. After 16 remarkably successful years, Jon Stewart will appear in his final episode of The Daily Show, and many of his viewers will lose their most-trusted news source. During his time as host of the show, Stewart blurred the lines between journalism and comedy so ingeniously that the question of whether his show should be categorized as “news” (as opposed to “comedy”) was often debated. While Stewart himself insisted he wasn’t a journalist, many Americans … Read more…

What a New Report on the Future of Journalism Means for PR

Journalism is in a state of flux, has been for years, and most likely will be for the foreseeable future. And whether you follow the industry closely, or are just a general consumer of news, you’ve experienced the shifts. For those of us in PR and media relations, any changes in the way our journalist colleagues do their jobs also means changes in the way we do ours. To continue to be successful, we need to be willing to adapt our methods to ensure we’re … Read more…

Pitfalls to Avoid When Pitching Journalists on Twitter

Of all the technologies available to help enhance media efforts, my favorite and most utilized is Twitter. It’s free. It’s extremely versatile. And it gives insight into how various topics are being covered (and by whom) in a way I find superior to media databases and even Google searches. Yet, while I love Twitter and use it constantly for things like staying up to date on breaking and industry news, researching topics and journalist interests, and building relationships, I’m much more selective about how and … Read more…

Should You Ask Reporters for Corrections?

Last week I listened to a great podcast by ProPublica’s Justin Elliot and Eric Umansky about what happens when sources complain about stories. In the piece, Elliot relayed interactions he and his colleagues had had with the Red Cross, who sent a 5,000-word request (longer than the reported piece) for changes to several aspects of the story, including some that were factually inaccurate and irrelevant. For example, they said the reporters failed to include specific quotes, when in fact, they were in the original story. … Read more…

Media Pros: Time to Start Snapping

I remember waffling on whether or not to join Twitter and seriously questioning not only its staying power, but also its usefulness. Now I can’t imagine doing media relations work without it. For staying up to date on the latest breaking news and trends and for getting to know journalists’ interests, there’s nothing better. Yet, despite how much I have come to value Twitter, I remained resistant to Snapchat, which I viewed as nothing more than a place for teens to post questionable (and regrettable) … Read more…

Baby It’s Cold Outside – Now Get Out There!

It’s January—which means it’s cold, really cold in some places. In general, it’d be much more pleasant to hunker down in your office with a space heater and hot cup of coffee than going just about anywhere else on campus. I get it. I have braved bitter (and painful) wind chills on campuses from Iowa to New Hampshire and hated every second of those walks from one extreme end of campus property to the other. But I never regretted it, because every time I got … Read more…

Media and PR Pros: Time to Do Our Jobs Better, Together

To say it’s been a disappointing month in the world of higher education public relations would be an understatement. The Rolling Stone cover story that so many hoped would create real change in how campuses handle sexual assaults has in fact taken attention away from the issue and cast a damning shadow over the media industry and journalism profession in its place. So, maybe that’s why many of us were taken aback when we saw this story in The Chronicle of Higher Education last week: … Read more…

Deadlines and Drafts: Where Higher Ed and the Media Diverge

Of all the questions and comments I receive from faculty and administrators about working with the media, the ones that seem to come up most frequently revolve around deadlines and drafts. And it makes sense, when you think about it—because the reality is that these two things function completely differently on college campuses than they do in newsrooms.   Take deadlines, for example. In academia, it’s very common to have weeks or even months between project deadlines—or at the very least, days. Soft deadlines and … Read more…

ISIS and the Future of Journalism

The past two weeks have been a time of tragedy and fear for our nation as a whole—and journalists in particular. The gruesome killing of Global Post reporter James Foley on August 19, followed by this morning’s beheading of freelance journalist Steven Sotloff by the militant group ISIS have shed much-needed light on some of America’s forgotten heroes. It’s also sparked long-overdue debate about the role of journalists in wartime reporting.   Many frontline reporters are weighing in publicly, and even they are divided on … Read more…