Sunday, April 02, 2006

FORWARD: Lessons from Silicon Valley Journalists



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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