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Eight Ways to Work with the Press in an Evolving Media Landscape

Do you find yourself checking social media for news instead of sitting down each morning to read the newspaper? If so, you’re not alone! Last year, 63% of Twitter users agreed that the platform serves as a source for news, according to a study conducted by Pew Research Center. In that same study, 59% of those who get news from Twitter have kept up with a news event as it was happening.

Last week, Mintz Levin was fortunate to host the Northeast Clean Energy Council (NECEC) event entitled, “Working with the Press in an Evolving Media Landscape.” Moderated by NECEC’s Communications Director Kate Plourd Johnson, the panel included Jon Chesto of the Boston Globe, Stephen Lacey of Greentech Media, Sara Castellanos of the Boston Business Journal, and Gintautas Dumcius of Continuing reading for eight key takeaways from this informative event!

  1. The way in which stories are consumed is unique to each social media channel. Stories on Facebook, for instance, “get a lot more movement and discussion,” according to Gintautas Dumcius, whereas Twitter “functions as both a newswire and an assignment desk.”
  2. Pitch your content in creative ways. Try pitching an idea on Twitter rather than through a typical email. “Twitter is a good way to not only share my stories, but also to solicit ideas,” said Sara Castellanos. Pitching stories through social media is pretty effective, according to Stephen Lacey, who said it’s a “unique way to get to the top of the list.” “I source a ton of stories from Twitter, more so than from emails,” he said.
  3. Pitch newsworthy, timely content. Content that is “original and exclusive” is of particular interest to publications such as the Boston Business Journal. Jon Chesto agreed that he is less likely to write about a press release in the Boston Globe since there is a high likelihood it has already been read elsewhere.
  4. After pitching your content, be prepared. Once an exclusive story has been added to the web, there is a greater demand from other publications for the primary source documents, according to Gintautas Dumcius. Be ready to provide the information to other publications.
  5. Ensure that you and the reporter are on the same page. Each journalist on the panel agreed that reporters’ definitions of “on background” can vary. As such, be sure to set your boundaries at the beginning of the conversation.
  6. Paywalls continue to change through trial and error. The Boston Globe altered their previously strict paywall so that casual readers on social media can attain a certain amount of hits per month. The Boston Business Journal recently altered their paywall policies from all print stories being behind a paywall to two stories per day behind a paywall. Greentech Media’s articles are still public, but they expand on some topics with what they refer to as “premium content.” They created GTM Squared to provide longer-form, paid content for their readers, which also includes premium podcasts.
  7. Each news organization is different. The panelists had varying answers about length of content and how they cover news. They each have a different target audience, so keep that in mind when selecting which publication to pitch.
  8. The energy industry is booming. For our Massachusetts energy friends out there, if you’re looking to pitch energy stories, now is the time. “Energy is a pretty big deal right now on Beacon Hill,” according to Jon Chesto.

Check out my live tweeting @EnergyCleanTech or search #NECECLive.

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Sahir Surmeli

Member / Co-chair, Energy & Sustainability Practice

Sahir Surmeli is a Mintz business counselor who advises companies, boards, entrepreneurs, investment banks, and venture and private equity investors as they build and grow companies. He handles public offerings, 144A and private financings, acquisitions, joint ventures, and strategic partnerships.