5 Things Reporters Expect You to Have

5 Things Reporters Expect You to Have

Paul I. Gingrich Jr. and Interior Blue photo by M. Sharon Baker

A newspaper editor asked me to write a story about an art collector donating his collection to a local art museum. She didn’t give me much information, just  the collector’s name, phone number and a tiny bit of background the collector provided when he stopped by to buy a newspaper subscription.   

If he didn’t stop in, this cool story would not have come to light.   

Paul I. Gingrich Jr. and Interior Blue by Walter Isaacs

Paul I. Gingrich Jr. and Interior Blue

The first place I went to find out more was the museum’s web site to see if they had a press room. There wasn’t one. The only information about the collection, amounted to a calendar item.   

Here’s what reporters expect to find:   

  1. A Press Room or specific page that delivers all the background and detailed information reporters need to quickly research your firm, product, or service. Sometimes this is called a media room or a newsroom. On this page reporters expect to find the following information, which can include all the information or links to it:  
  2. A press release announcing the news. In this case it would detail the promised gift, what was in the collection, and the basic information of the exhibit.
  3. A backgrounder telling all about the collector, why he fell in love with this artwork, who the artists are and what important pieces are included in the collection.
  4. Downloadable mug shot of the collector, several pieces of art, maybe a museum logo and a shot of the museum itself. High quality shots of at least 300 dpi are needed for print reproduction.
  5. Most importantly, contact information for the person handling media inquiries.

For this story,  another backgrounder about what the collection means to the museum, how it augmented the existing collection, and when or how the public would be able to see the pieces after the exhibit would have been helpful.   

Budget cuts at nonprofits have left museums with skeleton staffs, many of which can’t afford a public relations department. Many small businesses do not have PR departments either. But these materials should be created, made available and shared so the public and journalists can learn more, get interested and check out what you have to offer.   

My editor assigned this story at the end of the 3-month run of the collection. The story ran just three days before the collection was packed up. By not providing the newspaper or the public with critical information about the exhibit, the museum missed out on a huge marketing and public relations opportunity, and missed attracting additional visitors, which you can bet resulted in lost revenues. 

(Most journalists don’t think this way – they aren’t concerned with lost revenues or missed corporate opportunities. But because I work on both sides of the industry, I do.)   

 The PR and Marketing Lessons?   

  1. Create materials that provide basic information and make them easy to find.   
  2. Reporters go to your web site before they call, so be prepared.


Are you providing reporters with the information they expect to write a story about you?