Five Insights on Pitching Reporters

NVTC Meet the Press Event

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So what are tech journalists interested in these days? It’s a mix of Big Data, innovation, mobility and cybersecurity, among other topics. Thanks to the regular “Meet the Press” series with the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC), PR/communications pros find out about what’s driving the coverage agenda for media members these days. Here’s what they had to say at the most recent event last week:

Wyatt Kash, AOL Government. Kash focuses on covering any innovation that the government can adopt from the contracting community and searches for stories with three key elements: Compelling angles, good stories and a theme that conveys how readers can live their lives better.

Dan Beyers, Capital Business. Beyers likes both news hooks as well as “teaching/learning” angles. Oh, and he actually encourages PR people to “stalk” him, explaining that he’s very busy and appreciates communications professionals who follow-through pitching a story they believe is very important.

Grant Gross, IDG News. Gross is interested in mobile privacy and cybersecurity bills as they make their way along The Hill. He prefers news stories that are original, and seeks to avoid regurgitating basic press releases. One way to hit this note: Keep larger trends in mind when pitching, since these stories are more interesting than those that are more narrow.

Bill Flook, Washington Business Journal. Flook is constantly out for both the ‘one-off’ stories and the bigger trend pieces. As for the kind of treatment a story may receive? It depends upon where it plays. Print coverage tends to focus on unique articles. But online content may sometimes amount to slightly reworked press releases. Whatever you do, pitch Flook on Thursdays and Fridays for best results. The Journal is put to press on Wednesdays.

David Hubler, Washington Technology. Big data and cybersecurity remain of key interest to Hubler. He likes pitches that are short, direct and clean – email preferred. Send four paragraphs max, keep it focused and avoid jargon. If you can successfully indicate why your story is important to readers (as opposed to just your client), all the better. If you’re scouring the editorial calendar for potential opps, make sure you pitch those at least six weeks in advance of the schedule.

After listening to these writers share their thoughts, it’s clear that no two journalists are the same. But, in the end, it’s often about starting with a strong story. And if you happen to maintain a firm command of the reporters’ preferences, publications and interests, all the better for your hi tech PR agency.


Molly Doyle is a senior account coordinator at W2 Communications.