When it comes to media relations, email is the most preferred form of communication between journalists and publicists, according to many notable sources. With all that traffic, we think it is time to talk to journalists on their inbox and the numbers. So what does a journalist’s inbox look like?
On each episode of our podcast, Coffee with a Journalist, we ask journalists this exact question and the responses tend to lean toward the obvious: it’s cluttered and full of 100s if not 1000s of irrelevant emails. Most of the time these emails are not even viewed let alone kept in a journalist’s inbox. Other times journalists are using systems to organize pitches and identify ones they received in the past.
The good news is there are many journalists who read pitches, respond to them, and want to work with you. Read more below from these 5 journalists about what their inbox typically looks like:
The Numbers: How many emails do journalists receive?
Max Willens, platforms reporter for Digiday, said, “I have 57,000 unread emails in my inbox [from the past two to three years].”
According to Natasha Mascarenhas, early-stage startups reporter for TechCrunch, “I get roughly 700 to 900 emails a week [total]. It’s been a lot. Maybe it’s because everyone’s remote at the moment and they have more time to send emails.”
Jacob Krol, an associate tech writer for CNN Underscored told us at the time of his recording, “I probably have somewhere close to 1600 emails at any given time. It’s, it’s a lot.”
Dave Ingram, tech reporter for NBC News, said his inbox is filled all the time. He goes on to say, “I try to manage it the best I can. Some days are better than others. Frankly, the number of pitches that I’ve gotten, and I think a lot of other tech reporters would say this, has really gotten out of hand for the amount of time we have, and where tech journalism is going.”
Dave proceeds to share some personal insight about emails and how they are counterproductive to true journalism:
“Email’s tough, because a lot of times I feel like, as a journalist, I could either do my work or I could read email. Email is not work. The email is what’s stopping you from doing work.”
Some reporters aren’t on the receiving end of publicists’ pitches. Alex Heath, reporter for The Information is one of the lucky few who doesn’t have a cluttered inbox. Here’s what he had to say about this, “I’m not inundated with pitches because, I don’t know, maybe a lot of folks already understand that now about the information that you’re kind of wasting your time most of the time.”
It’s clear that email pitching will not be going away any time soon, but it is important to be mindful of what it’s like on the receiving end of journalists and their inbox. When it comes to pitching journalists, there are many ways to make your news stand out from the crowd. Aside from crafting simple subject lines and presenting a clear reason for why your news is relevant, it’s important that you also make it a point to introduce yourself even before you pitch a journalist. This is a tactic I practice often and have seen how valuable it is for the stepping stones of building a relationship with a journalist.
For simple tips and tricks, you can use to reach journalists, download a free copy of the PR 101 eBook: The Ultimate Guide to Pitching. We share 5 simple tips to help you craft pitches that journalists are most responsive to.