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Pitching: e-mail v. Twitter

TwitterVEmail.KMMThe advent of social media has created new avenues for PR professionals and journalists to connect. The ability to tweet a pitch to followers and through direct message has made interactions more immediate and intimate. Yet despite this rampantly popular mode of communication, research indicates that journalists still prefer to receive pitches and messages through e-mail.

According to a recent survey from Illinois-based new media design firm PWR New Media, 87 percent of journalists surveyed preferred to receive press releases via e-mail, while less than 1 percent favored social media pitches. On a smaller scale, inVocus did its own research and asked some journalists what their preferences for pitches are. Although some reporters have embraced the Twitter pitch, the responses were largely on the side of e-mail. Below, journalists dish on the best way to pitch.

Tom D. Fowler, Energy Business Reporter, Houston Chronicle:

“I get so many e-mails these days that I’m more likely to notice a direct message via Twitter (I get those pretty rarely). So I personally wouldn’t mind seeing them via that route. Don’t know if it would change the likelihood of me writing the story, but it would improve the chances of me seeing the pitch, which these days is a big deal given the info overload most reporters face.”

James Fuller, Staff Writer, (Chicago) Daily Herald:

“It depends on what the pitch is about. If it’s pitching coverage of, say, an event, then it’s easy for me to send that info out as a re-tweet. If the pitch is about writing an article on, say, something a person has done or will do, then e-mail is preferred because there’s a lot more leg work involved with constructing an actual article.”

Avital Binshtock, Lifestyle Editor, Sierra Magazine:

“Definitely e-mail.”

Julie Deardorff, Columnist, Chicago Tribune:

“Definitely e-mail. I only look at Twitter sporadically and might miss it. (Though I use Twitter every day I’m not on it all day, like e-mail.)”

Eric Deggans, TV/Media Critic, St. Petersburg Times:

“E-mail. More substantive and easier to save.”

James Dowd, Business Reporter, Commercial Appeal:

“E-mail. Twitter’s 140-character limit doesn’t offer a suitable venue for a solid pitch and pertinent contact/follow-up info. And while I’ve used Facebook and other social media sites to contact sources or investigate story tips, generally speaking I’m only accessible there by family, friends and business associates and they don’t use those forums to pitch stories.”

Christopher Elliott, Consumer Advocate/Journalist/Editor, National Geographic Traveler, Tribune Media Services, Washington Post:

“Still prefer e-mail.”

Sharon Chapman, Entertainment Editor/Music, Austin American:

“E-mail, so we have the information and can forward it.”

Deirdre M. Childress, Entertainment/Film/Weekend Editor, The Philadelphia Inquirer:

“Still e-mail so I can forward it.”

Brandon Bowers, Online Content Editor, Merced Sun-Star:

“I get most releases via e-mail, but I’d prefer Twitter. First, it forces the person making the pitch to make it very clear why the story should get covered – but also because my work’s inbox space is awfully limited.”

And there you have it. Although possibly considered old-fashioned in this high-flying world of social media, e-mail is still the favored means of communications when it comes to relations between the media and their PR counterparts.

— Katrina M. Mendolera

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