How to Pitch A New Media Journalist

Name and News Organization: Kate Michael, and The District Dish
Beat: DC topics (People, places, events, charities, businesses)
Job Title: New Media Personality
Length of Time in this Role: 3 years
Web Site and/or Blog: K Street Kate/ The District Dish
Twitter Handle: @kstreetkate

Mopwater: What kind of stories/people/companies are you most interested in covering, and in what context?  KM: Both the online magazine and talk show feature the best of DC, lifestyle stories that highlight the real District of Columbia and its eclectic neighborhoods.

Mopwater: What’s the best pitch you’ve gotten recently and why?  KM: A unique and interesting business (trapeze school) moved into the area and featured lessons with the instructor who taught “Carrie” on the trapeze episode of Sex and the City.  We booked him immediately to tell people about the trapeze school on The District Dish!

Mopwater: What’s the worst pitch you’ve gotten recently and why? KM: The sister of a local woman asked me to do a feature on her because she was “so nice” and “people should know about her”… I’m not sure why.

Mopwater: What’s the easiest way to get ignored by you when pitching?  KM: Forget to take out the name of the other publication you were pitching when you were cutting and pasting your pitch.

Mopwater: What’s your preferred method of contact? Phone, email, your web site, your twitter account, your Facebook? KM: Email and twitter, equally.  My actual e-mail is listed on my facebook page, so why use a facebook message??

Mopwater: How much follow up can you stand from a publicist after their initial pitch and in what form?  KM: A quick e-mail reminder is no problem at all.

Mopwater: How much follow-up can you stand from a publicist after you’ve written about their company/client? Do you expect a “thank you” email/call? Is a follow-up email okay? What about a follow-up call?  KM: I usually try to send a clip or link to the story to the publicist after writing the post or article, but don’t expect any follow-up from them in return.  Of course, building a relationship with the writer is a good way to get your next story published – so I wouldn’t say it was a bad idea!

Mopwater: Do unsolicited phone calls annoy you?  KM: No, but I do prefer e-mails.

Mopwater: Describe a scenario when you mentally black-listed a source/publicist. What did they do to make you hit the delete key whenever you see a their name in your
inbox? KM: Sending me pitch solicitations that obviously do not conform to my beat – like stories about events in California or news about businesses that we do not even have in the District – are reasons why I would ignore a source.  Also, I’m always a bit putoff by publicists who send me generic press releases and save all of the juicy stories for my competition… share the wealth!

Mopwater: Do you ever meet publicists for coffee/lunch to discuss a story idea? Would you be open to it if a publicist or source suggested it?  KM: I can’t think of a time offhand that I have, but I would be open to it.  As I said, developing a relationship with a publicist or writer is so helpful in this business.  Best of luck to you all!

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