What Do Journalists Want?

Recently I attended a media briefing with Jonathan Grun, Editor at The Press Association. In his view, “interesting stories” and “speed of response” are the secret to building long-lasting relationship with journalists.

Having worked in the PR industry in Singapore, Hong Kong and London over the past decade, I wondered if other journalists shared the same view. With this in mind, I asked a few media industry friends what they thought made a good PR. Here are their responses:

  • TV producer, Channel NewsAsia TV news station, Singapore: “Journalists want to tell the best story within deadline, outshine rival media outlets, and be first with the news. PR folk who understand this and help provide the stories they need (with good multimedia elements) earn lots of goodwill and become good friends”
  • Reporter, China Daily Europe, UK: “I think it’s personal interest and friendship as opposed to work. My PR friends don’t talk about their clients when we meet for lunch, coffee or other things. We just become friends.”
  • Freelance writer, The Guardian, UK: “I generally contact PRs when I need information or a quote, often at short notice. The PRs that I go back to time and again are those who are quick to respond to inquiries, who are competent in their subject area and who have the ear of their clients so they can get the ball rolling”
  • Chinese Reporter, Oriental Daily News, Hong Kong: “Regular catch-ups help and casual chats can build up friendships. If possible, say lunch every few months. For those who are in a different country, call or send a Christmas card”
  • UK-based freelance writer, Billionaire.com, Singapore: “Keep supplying relevant information that can be used going forward – or that builds a clear picture of the fields in which your key strengths/contacts lie” 

So, my unscientific poll suggests Jonathan Grun is right – interesting news stories and speed of response are key to cultivating long-lasting relationships between PRs-Journalists. But so are regular, informal face-to-face catch-ups. Lunch anyone?

Carol Chan

London