How to Land Local Broadcast News Coverage

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I recently visited Channel 7 News in Boston alongside a group of young PR professionals. Local news is not only important for our clients, it’s also where several of my colleagues at Greenough started their careers, so I was eager to see the broadcast news environment in action.

Against the backdrop of a busy newsroom, from an afternoon report in progress to the green screen-clad weather center, an assignment editor provided a detailed rundown of the daybook, offering a firsthand glimpse of the competition to land a spot within Channel 7’s newscast. An on-air reporter and executive producer offered advice on making pitches that stand out from the thousands received daily. It all aligned with what my colleagues have been teaching me for months now.

Although one newsroom visit doesn’t earn me an advanced degree in broadcast coverage, I came away with three memorable tips:

  1. If it’s not new, it’s not news. A good pitch must lead with what’s new and why the audience should care. Local news not only prioritizes timely stories, but also those that are relevant to the station’s regional market. Your pitch must include connections to the viewing audience.
     
  2. Differentiate event pitches. Assignment editors may include your local event in their daybooks, but that only ensures consideration. With hundreds of events taking place daily, your chances of getting a videographer and/or reporter to cover your story are slim, so you’ll need a strong tie to the community or a well-known local or celebrity that viewers will recognize.
     
  3. Make it visual. No matter how strong your pitch is, there’s rarely more than 15-90 seconds to tell your story, depending on whether they’re doing a voiceover or full package. The producer must see a strong visual arc to the story or it won’t make the cut. When pitching, include images or video if possible (or, at least, a description of what type of video and images they can expect to capture). These assets, not words, are more likely to influence producers.

Because Greenough works closely with Channel 7 producers and reporters, as well as all the local affiliates in Boston, this view into their world was invaluable. For many of our clients, from hospitals and urgent care to life sciences and legal experts, local news coverage is becoming a higher priority for storytelling. If reaching New Englanders through local news is important to your business or organization, contact me at ohayum@greenough.biz to arrange a discussion with our expert team.