A Hamilton Media Guild workshop showed young professionals and entrepreneurs how they can successfully pitch their stories to the media. Titled Connecting the Dots in Media, the one-and-a-half hour long workshop was held at HIVEX, the annual young professional conference hosted by Hamilton HIVE, the umbrella organization of young professional groups and leaders.
The first half of the workshop featured Jane Allison, manager of community partnerships and Cheryl Stepan, editor, both from The Hamilton Spectator. Focusing on how young professionals can pitch their stories to the media, Allison and Stepan discussed the elements of a good story pitch, reporters and editors to approach, and highlighted the best timing for sending out a story pitch.
It’s important to send a story pitch to the right person in the newsroom, said Allison and Stepan. Additionally, it’s also important to do your research, as your story is much more likely to be picked up if you first start with the right channel. Geographic location is key. If your story focuses on something happening in Vancouver, a news outlet like The Hamilton Spectator may not have as much interest as say, the Vancouver Sun. Location is a key component to keep in mind before sending out a media release.
After their presentation, a few brave souls come up to the stage to present their pitches to a panel of media experts. This panel featured members from all over the media spectrum, from TV to print: Mike Cameron from Cable 14, Jeff Storey from CHML radio, Carly Conway from CHCH News and Samantha Craggs from CBC Hamilton.
Having the opportunity to present a pitch to a panel of media helped to put into practise what attendees had just learned from Allison and Stepan’s presentation. Having panel members from all different media channels was invaluable for attendees to understand the differences between pitching to a print publication versus pitching to radio or television. As a whole, the workshop gave attendees a greater insight on the way the media works.