Pitching the green
Nature lovers, fear-not. While it may seem daunting to discern which reporters cover green products from those who don’t in an increasingly environmentally aware world, newspaper reporters looking for the next big eco-friendly trend do exist.
For those making the pitches, it is important to separate the idea of green products and new green trends – green products are frequently looked at by reporters as “profit” news. Reporters are often more interested in writing “nonprofit” stories, which read less like an advertisement. For instance, The Oregonian’s sustainability reporter Abby Haight reports on neighborhoods and small businesses involved in promoting green practices while reducing the company’s carbon footprint, but she veers away from trends and products.
For the most part, local newspapers will only write about a product if it was made locally. “We don’t cover the latest green inventions because there is no local connection,” J.B. Smith told Vocus researchers. An environmental reporter at the Waco Tribune-Herald, Smith noted that many local papers lack the space to print articles on eco-friendly consumer products unless it has a strictly local angle.
So who is covering green products? Reporters who cover new green technologies, for example, can be excellent people to pitch products to. Katie Zemtseff, an environmental reporter for the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, covers the environment as it relates to man-made surroundings. She writes about green development and buildings that utilize cleaner technologies. She told Vocus that she is interested in receiving tips on new products especially if it has a connection to buildings in the Puget Sound area of Washington. In addition, most major newspapers, and many smaller ones, have going-green bloggers. Pitching the Boston Globe’s Green Blog, or The Oregonian’s environmental blog, PDX Green, may spell success for PR professionals marketing a new sustainable living product.
Despite the appearance of green-related abundance, the Columbia Journalism Review recently reported that Columbia University has suspended its environmental journalism program for the next academic year. According to the Review, the university’s program directors cited the rising cost of education, dropping employment in the field and not enough financial aid. Dan Fagin, director of New York University’s Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program, told the Review that he disagreed with the decision. “We’ve never needed well-trained science, health and environmental journalists more than we do right now.”
Although green and environmental reporters may dwindle along with the rest of the industry, there are still plenty of journalists to pitch. So if you run across a strange, slimy substance in the local lake, contact your local environmental reporter. But if you are sending a press release on a new lawnmower that runs on clean organic fuel, then contacting green bloggers can be a good way to go. Vocus software contains pitching profiles and podcast interviews with environmental reporters as well as green bloggers – so pitch green with grace by understanding the biodegradable ropes of a newer eco-friendly world.
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