HOW TO PITCH: Ferman Patterson, Producer of Reporter’s Roundtable

Reporter’s Roundtable

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you had  a great holiday season and are gearing up for a great 2009. As promised, Mopwater is back in full effect today, and as such, I’m launching the much-anticipated “How to Pitch” column.  HTP is going to give you the inside track on how to get yourself or your client covered in print, broadcast and web-based media.

Reporters and editors-are you looking to get more exposure for your work in 2009? Ready to put down the pen (okay, keyboard) for a moment and get on-screen?  Maybe you’ve recently seen your reporter colleagues featured as experts on television news programs, so you’re wondering how you could get on television,too.

To help you get your first television interview, I’ve interviewed  Ferman Patterson, Producer of Reporter’s Roundtable, a public affairs program that airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at noon on Channel 16 in the District of Columbia. Frequent guests include D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Washington Post Reporter Hamil Harris. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the program, here’s a brief synopsis from the DC Office of Cable Television:

Hosted by Denise Rolark Barnes of The Washington Informer, the show tackles the top news items affecting District residents. Viewers will hear issues addressed from every perspective by panelists like Hamil Harris of The Washington Post and Deborah Simmons of The Washington Times. The show takes you beyond the local headlines as these journalists debate what’s in the news and how it will impact DC residents.

I’ve often wondered how reporters/experts get booked on this program as it seems like the guests are pretty much the same whenever I tune in.  According to Patterson, it really depends.

“Sometimes we get leads from reporters or we see a reporter on air and [invite them on],” he says. “Who we choose is based on topic or subject matter.” Recently archived episodes include the same-sex marriage debate, the green revolution and Wall Street vs. Main Street.

Patterson says that RR has a small group of regular reporters that appear on the program often, but he’s open to booking new voices in 2009.  “We’re interested in reporters in print, radio and even bloggers,” he says.

RR is taped once a month, so the month’s programs are generally taped on a single day. Shows are 30 minutes long, but you’ll need to allow for about 15 minutes beforehand for make-up and preliminaries, and 15 minutes after as well. Although the show airs on the local Washington, DC Channel 16, Ferman welcomes both national and local journalists.

To be considered for the show, send Ferman an email stating your specialty and your availability, and he’ll keep your stuff on file should you fit into a future segment.  E-mail your press kit/resume/bio/clips or whatever other promotional material you have  to and tell him Mopwater sent you. Happy pitching!

Next Week: How To Pitch The Root.

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