The world moves around the news. Thanks to the Internet, readers and viewers get 24×7 access to credible information. The proliferation of news channels and print media makes it possible for businesses to advertise their brand through the news. They can spread awareness about the brand or product by approaching reporters who would likely understand the story and publish it.
However, publishing a piece of news that speaks about your brand or product is easier said than done. You need an impeccable pitch, mind-blowing content, timely submission, and assured approval. Since the news approval process can sometimes be too technical, companies and individuals hire PR or Public Relations professionals to increase the odds of acceptance.
Are you looking for a cost-effective way to ensure approval? If your answer is ‘Yes,’ then you are in the right place. This article discusses the reporter-editor relationship, the news approval process for reporters, and the best tips for pitching stories that excite journalists and editors.
How is the Relationship Between Reporters and Editors?
Quite often, you can hear stories that describe how editors make life miserable for reporters. However, they might be far from the truth. Although, at times, editors and reporters may get into a conflict owing to differences in perspective. But, an editor’s primary task is to make life smoother for the reporter.
An Editor is responsible for ensuring quality. A Reporter’s task is to bring credible information that can be translated into a news article. If both reporters and editors feel that the information is newsworthy, they will never get into a brawl. Unfortunately, that does not happen too frequently. The reporter analyses a piece of news from one perspective, which may or may not match the editor’s viewpoint. Hence, a healthy editor-reporter relationship is one where both understand each other and work for the organization’s betterment. In such cases, the news approval process becomes seamless.
Companies willing to pitch stories often rope PR professionals since they have expertise in identifying the best reporters and/or editors who can get the job done.
Although the news approval process may differ from agency to agency, we will look at the standard news approval process that almost all companies stick to, with minor deviations.
The News Approval Process for Journalists
Reporters need to follow a well-defined process for receiving approval for their news article. The standard news approval process is as follows:
1.) Defining the Scope – Reporters can be categorized into various types, such as Assignment Reporter, Sports Reporter, Weather Reporter, Beat Reporter, etc. Editors usually allocate specific tasks to a reporter, depending on their category. Reporters generally perform the tasks as defined in the scope of their work.
2.) Collecting the News – After knowing the scope of the work, the reporter goes into the field (if required). After collecting or gathering the news, they come back to their desk in the newsroom. Desks are categorized as Metro desk, Business desk, Sports desk, Education desk, Political desk, etc. The reporter then prepares the news report and sends it to the editor through electronic mail.
3.) Editing the News – The news sent by the reporter comes to a Sub-Editor who generally uses a red pen or red font to mark the errors. It deserves worth mentioning that the Chief Sub Editor and Editor uses blue and green pen or font, respectively. The article gets ready for publishing after the Editor in Chief gives the go-ahead.
4.) Publishing – Once the article is prepared for publishing, the editors sit together and decide the layout of the pages. The layout includes news, advertisements, etc. After they agree to the layout, the newspaper is sent for printing. For epapers, the printing step is ignored, but the other steps remain the same.
The Best Tips for Pitching Stories That Excite Journalists and Editors
As a fact, reporters and editors are a busy lot. On a typical day, they receive more pitches than they can check. Hiring Public Relations Experts or PR professionals can help you to an extent. However, to ensure your pitch grabs the right eyeballs, you need to remember the following tips.
1.) Do the Homework – In this stage, you identify more about the journalists or editors you wish to pitch the story. Since they are extremely specific about what they want to see and what they do not, you cannot afford a mistake. Try finding information about how they work and the kind of stories they approve of. The research can help you find the correct language for pitching.
2.) Design the Hook – Hook, or the USP (Unique Selling Proposition), is what separates your story from the rest. Everything from language to style matters here. The more newsworthy your story is, the higher will be the chances of approval. Your USP can be a trending topic or some new ideas about an existing topic. Alternatively, you may present a counter-argument to an established narrative or provide some recent research report in an area that has not been researched before.
3.) Choose the Right Pitch Type – Journalists receive various types of pitches. You need to select the right type of reporter for the purpose. Pitches can be guest article pitches, actionable insights, breaking news, sector overview, etc. Also, avoid using words like ‘may’ or ‘might’ since that shows your content lacks the confidence needed to stand out.
Pitching a reporter or editor can be simple when you know about the news approval process. However, the process is dynamic and not static. It may change depending on the needs of the industry.
To stay updated about the latest happenings in the field of public relations, click here. Be sure to check out our cheat sheet to all things media-related in our media guide, which dives into the structure of newsrooms, relationships between staff writers and editors, and much more.