FORWARD: Lessons from Silicon Valley Journalists

    April 2, 2006

A couple weeks ago, I went to the Silicon Valley PRSA blockbuster lunch and took notes. From these notes, I wrote a post for the FORWARD blog, the student-run Website and blog, for students.

Some highlights from that post:

Who do you read online?

Markoff: I read ValleyWag, Digg has replaced Slashdot for me, The Register there are too many blogs in my blogreader, too many unread stories, which says that the model is broken on too much data.

Clark: C/Net for tech news, the Register, the Inquirer – as for online, and I like that I can up the size of the font.

What are the most compelling pitches, the way you like to get pitches?
Clark: We are the last person to write on a company launch. I like cool companies with cool ideas – I feel retro that I still do stories on launches.

But, most small companies have to wrap themselves up in a larger trend. What’s absolutely unique about the company? You want to be part of a larger trend, be part of a movement, so we can write about the company. You can segment the answers, see in the larger context and broadest way possible.

We wrote first about Napster and its legal issues – but we missed the sociological story. It’s about the big picture, what is important as a reader, and to the reader.

Goldberg: it is pretty hard for a small company to get its voice heard, but there are a lot of ways into the paper. It is the creative pitch – it is community, personality, what the company is doing exemplifying a larger trend. Show the trend. There are ways to pitch the story. Send emails – don’t fax!

Kehoe: Context, context, context. Put in a human element, add some tension. There does not need to be great conflict, but it can be a David v Goliath type-story.

Markoff: 1989 was the last time I was asked the question. Then, there was a wewsletter that came out that said I could not think of a way for small companies to get press.

I look at everything for better or ill, and email is my way to look and read everything. I respond to the things I can do something with, that are a potential story. I am not changing that, but I am looking and I do what I can do – with 100-150 emails from PR people a day, if I gave them all a fair hearing, that is all I would do during the day.

I practice triage, but I do not want you to go away.

Go read the rest of the post – some great advice for students, and a refresher course for those that have been in PR.

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Jeremy Pepper is the CEO and founder of POP! Public Relations, a public relations firm based in Arizona, USA.

He authors the popular Musings from POP! Public Relations blog which offers Jeremy’s opinions and views – on public relations, publicity and other things.