Here's how to pitch journalists at a time of tragedy
Plus, how to help.
Most of us feel both bereft and helpless at times like these. We can support organizations such as the ones listed below. But how else should we be moving through our days when it seems like the world should rightly stop?
I've watched as publicists have tried a range of approaches in my email this week. And I asked other journalists to share their feedback on what was working and what wasn't.
“PR isn’t really where to direct annoyance or outrage. You take care of your side of the street. If you don't want to do your job as a beauty blogger for a day, take a day off. But you can't decide how PR does theirs.”
This writer (whose deep empathy I can personally vouch for) views times like these as personal matters and does not expect publicists to tailor unrelated pitches to meet the moment.
“We have been in a constant state of tragedy for three years now. Pandemic, wars, civil unrest, mass shootings. It's terrible, and we can't help but feel like writing about the next air fryer or body wash is frivolous. Ultimately, we still have to do our jobs, even if we feel torn on it. I am fine with receiving pitches, but maybe it would be best to be to start with a sentence disclaimer, such as ‘We understand if following yesterday’s tragic events you are not covering lifestyles topics right now, but wanted you to have this in case it’s a fit for your coverage.’”
I have received a number of pitches with this lead-in and it feels appropriate to me, too.
“I want to not get PR emails during times like these. Like, read the room and stay quiet IMO.”
Several journalists in my circle co-signed this approach.
I think a one-day breather (at least) works. It almost feels like a moment of silence. And a brief waiting period of one day is not likely to offend anyone, whereas a too-prompt response might.
The fact is, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Everyone grieves differently. And everyone has different opinions about how to move forward. But I hope this range of opinions helps inform your thinking at such times of crisis.
How to help
Donate to the Uvalde Victims Relief Fund
Donate to the GoFundMe portal for victims
Donate to Robb School’s First Bank of Uvalde fund
Volunteer legal services with the San Antonio Legal Services Association
Donate to League of United Latin American Citizens, a civil rights organization supporting victims
Donate to Moms Demand Action and Everytown
Tools you need
Are you a publicist who needs help understanding the affiliate game? This course, Affiliate Marketing for Publicists, can help.
I’m obsessed with the game-changing platform Otter.ai. I use it to both record interviews and also to transcribe them in real time. You can also use it to record/transcribe any type of meeting — so anyone who missed it can easily access the Cliff’s Notes version. There’s a pro plan for agencies/companies with a ton of neat features. Check out Otter.ai here.
17 Best Lawn Games for Outdoor Fun You Can Take With You (Woman’s Day)
Airbnb Is Banning This, Starting May 27 (Best Life)
Work With Me
Here’s how to pitch: Simply respond to this email with a new subject line or pitch me at email@example.com.
Are you a writer hoping to reach my engaged list of publicists? A publicist hoping to connect with brands? A digital media type with a product or service for the industry? Maybe you’d like to sponsor this newsletter with a featured ad. Let’s chat: firstname.lastname@example.org.