The BLACK paPR Report


PR from an African American Perspective

Colleague to Colleague

The Pitching Arm

Some of my journalist friends don’t believe publicists think or read. They base that opinion on the pitches they receive from publicists asking them to produce news and feature content for their publications and broadcast/cable programming. A business reporter really does not want to receive a pitch for an entertainment story that is short on business content, and does not have a business angle. By the same token, an entertainment reporter or editor really won’t appreciate hearing about your client the dentist who once filled a tooth for Usher. 

There is a wonderful reason why PR/publicity programs are integrated into journalism programs on the college level. Both journalists and practitioners should know a lot about one another’s industries. The best publicists I know have worked at PR agencies and/or publications as journalists. 

Moreover, the very best practitioners are news junkies. They read and watch everything. (I’ve been known to receive inspiration and an idea or two from actually reading encyclopedias.) Call us know-it-alls but it is imperative to our success to know who is who and what is what and where to find who and what, which is pretty much how a journalist thinks and operates.

That stated, keep your ‘pitching arm’ in great shape to serve our clients. Here are a couple of Web sites that help me tremendously:

Help a Reporter Out (HARO)

Practitioner Peter Shankman has revolutionized the pitch by presenting queries from editors, journalists and even bloggers in need of sources. In effect, HARO offers the reverse pitch and the story comes directly to the practitioner. Shankman writes on his Web site:

“Each day, you’ll receive up to three emails, each with anywhere from 15-30 queries per email. They’ll all be labeled with [] in the subject line, for easy filtering. If you see a query you can answer, go for it! really is that simple.

I built this list because a lot of my friends are reporters, and they call me all the time for sources. Rather than go through my contact lists each time, I figured I could push the requests out to people who actually have something to say.

These requests only come from reporters directly to me. I never take queries from that other service, I never SPAM, and I’m not going to do anything with your email other than send you these reporter requests when they arrive in my in-box.”

Your Pitch Sucks?

ysp“YPS? works with a leading team of senior public relations professionals to help you craft the perfect pitch. That’s where we come in. We’ll take a look at your press release or pitch and fine tune it for you to ensure that it’s the best it can be.”


And one other strategy helps a lot in perfecting your pitching arm: Take an online publicity course or register at the local community college for a refresher course. 

Best, Robin

Filed under: African Americans, Colleague to Colleague, Help for the Practitioner, PR Standards & Practices, Public Relations, , , , , ,

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