Pitching to broadcast

Through the CIPR North East, I attended a great session with TTTV's Jane Bolesworth the other day. Great fun in herself and refreshingly (brutally!) honest about the good and bad ways PRs pitch stories to the newsroom, Jane also shared the challenges experienced by the team in terms of resource and talked about the uncertainty facing broadcast journalism going forward.

Here are some of her top tips for getting your stories translated onto film and broadcast on the local news bulletin:

On Tuesdays and Thursdays the team has all its editing done by 5pm so make sure you sell in early.

The team no longer attends grey suits meetings, ie anything like ministerial visits or even minor royal trips so unless the angle is really strong, don’t even try.

The audience at TTTV is B, C, D, E demographic, mainly over 40 with a bias towards women. The best way to achieve coverage is to provide a case study who is like the audience – not the chief exec of an organisation for example. (Nb not always easy when you have a client who wants his/her personal profile raising above that of the business!) Put people forward with some emotion who can speak colloquially, not just someone trying to impart facts.

Remember the team needs sequences of images so ensure you think about what type of footage could be achieved (don’t just think in terms of one image still, like you would for a photo). What is happening that they can capture?

Don’t worry if your event is happening at the same time of the programme – coverage could still be achieved by a live Outside Broadcast. The event would need to be of significant importance / celebratory for this to happen though.

Two big helpful hints: - The who, what, where, when approach is favoured, especially when a case study will be available but don’t invite TTTV at the same time as BBC unless you can’t avoid it - Make sure all stories being pitched are important, have a human interest angle and are visual.

A useful reminder of what we should think about when pitching to broadcast - some of which it is easy to forget in the rush to get a story out. It really does take a different approach.

Thanks Jane - from the feedback, it will not just be me putting these tips to good use!