Three Capital Region Editors Share “How to Get A Reporters Attention in the Always-On News Cycle”

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Marjorie Censer (POLITICO), Amrita Jayakumar (Washington Post Capital Business), and Camille Tuutti (Nextgov)

Marjorie Censer (POLITICO), Amrita Jayakumar (Washington Post Capital Business), and Camille Tuutti (Nextgov)

WashingtonExec’s MARCOM Committee’s fall 2014 kick off meeting was a successful event by all accounts. WashingtonExec MARCOM Committee Co-Chairs invited the D.C. region’s top business reporters and editors, who often cover the government contracting space, to speak on the topic of “Can You Hear Me Now? How to Get a Reporter’s Attention in the Always-On News Cycle.”

Marjorie Censer, recently named Defense Editor of POLITICO Pro and former Washington Post Capital Business reporter; Camille Tuutti, Executive Editor for Nextgov; and Amrita Jayakumar, Washington Post Capital Business reporter, served as keynote speakers. The trio provided a candid discussion about the interworkings of what makes a compelling and relevant story in the business of government.

Andrew Bryden, Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs for SRA International, moderated the discussion in Tysons Corner.

Censer, Tuutti, and Jayakumar each brought different perspectives and experiences to the talk, but carried the same message: reporters want to build meaningful and lasting relationships with the variety of stakeholders that they cover. All speakers agreed that it can be very obvious when an individual is not familiar with their beat or the broad storylines that are guiding the overall media coverage of an industry.

Instead, the three speakers advised that marketing professionals reach out to meet with reporters (coffee in particular) with the expectation of having a mutually valuable relationship. The reporter might not commit to a full-blown story after one meeting, but will keep your organization in mind for future stories and input once they can better understand your organization’s value proposition.

“The quickest way to get your pitch ignored is to not know what the reporter is covering,” Tuutti said. “Do your homework; pitch news or interesting personalities. And instead of expecting a story, work on cultivating a great relationship with reporters. That’s how you get their attention.”

A large part of the discussion included the changing pace of today’s media content generation cycle and how that affects a reporter’s overall job. All panelists agreed that it’s important for individuals as well as corporations to utilize a broad range of social media tools to better enable reporters to connect with future sources and to provide visibility to those who may be available for story input in the future.

The 2014 WashingtonExec MARCOM Committee Leaders are Sheila Blackwell (Decision Sciences), Alan Hill (Serco, Inc.), Eileen Cassidy Rivera (Harris Corporation) and Andrew Bryden (SRA International).

Sheila Blackwell (Decision Sciences), Amrita Jayakumar (Washington Post Capital Business), Marjorie Censer (POLITICO), Camille Tuutti (Nextgov), Eileen Cassidy Rivera (Harris IT), and Andrew Bryden (SRA)

Sheila Blackwell (Decision Sciences), Amrita Jayakumar (Washington Post Capital Business), Marjorie Censer (POLITICO), Camille Tuutti (Nextgov), Eileen Cassidy Rivera (Harris IT), and Andrew Bryden (SRA)

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