February was short (thank you calendar!), sweet (thank you Valentine’s Day!) and full of professional development thanks to PRSA SD/IC. We capped off the month with a sold out meet the media panel event at Union Cowork East Village.

More than 70 local San Diegans RSVP’d to the 8 a.m. panel, and the room was packed with eager professionals ready to hear from our city’s leading business reporters — Erin Chambers Smith (ECS), Chief Content Officer at San Diego Magazine and Hatch San Diego; Nels Jenson (NJ), Editor-in-Chief of the San Diego Business Journal; and Roger Showley (RS), reporter at the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The panel touched on everything from ways to pitch media outside of traditional email to how they get their story ideas and where their best pitches come from (pssst – they come from San Diego’s pool of freelancers!)  

Some of our favorite exchanges included:

What are the San Diego issues local business writers most interested in exploring in 2018?

  • ECS: Local real estate scene and because magazines are so visual – how to best showcase it through photography. Of course San Diego is known for biotech so new surrounding science and technology is always welcome!
  • RS: The future of Qualcomm, news of Sea Word’s CEO’s resignation, Seaport Village’s redevelopment, the convention center expansion, creative office spaces and urban design all are top of mind
  • NJ: San Diego’s varied intersections of the private sector including outcome stories, technology, health care and startups

Best practices for pitching these writers?

  • ECS: I love to get pitches that show PR professionals understand San Diego Magazine and how it covers news. I also appreciate when PR pros let me know if San Diego Union-Tribune is also covering the story so SD Magazine can take a different angle
  • RS: We get so many emails a day but nothing in the mail. If you send a mailer to our office, it is almost guaranteed to be seen by someone.
  • NJ: Always send emails to me or my managing editor. Also, nominate your clients for San Diego Business Journal awards – it helps keep the companies top of mind!

As for major trend takeaways? Podcasts were of interest to attendees, with one audience member asking for recommendations on how to pitch a client for inclusion on the budding medium. The other notable mention was Chambers Smith mentioning LinkedIn in particular as a resource she uses quite frequently for news and story ideas.

Never forget, at the end of the day, PR is a “people first” industry and building relationships goes a long way! Showley stressed the importance of not just reading local publications every day, but knowing exactly what the person you are reaching out to covers. Chambers Smith recommends dropping by the newly redesigned San Diego Magazine office and putting on a demo for the staff or trying to get a breakfast or lunch on the books. Jenson doesn’t mind getting actual phone calls – noting he gets 300 emails a day but loves when publicists follow-up with a phone call, saying “personal connections are key.”

We at PRSA SD/IC couldn’t agree more!

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Written by: Kelly Fausel

Posted on: March 22, 2018

Kelly Fausel was a previous PRSA SD/IC Board Member

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