A few weeks ago, Jeff Houck from The Tampa Tribune came and spoke to Barbara Nixon’s COMM 4333 class. Houck spoke a lot about the details of working in the field of Journalism or Public Relations, and gave a lot of essential tips of how to be successful in this field, especially as a young college graduate. During his presentation, there were ten items of importance that particularly stood out to me.

1. Never submit anything with an embargo date on it to a journalist. Since journalists are so busy and recieve a lot of information on a daily basis, it is best to only submit news pitches that are for immediate release.

2. Use Social Media resources! Things such as Twitter and FourSquare are an integral part for making relationships and connecting people together. Use them!

3. Make personal relationships. Take your clients and co-workers out to lunch, and do not discuss business at all. Getting to know someone on a personal, face-to-face level will most likely cause them to write your story.

4. Create interesting e-mail subject lines. The majority of journalists use an e-mail system through their cellphones, and are only able to see about 15 characters of an e-mail headline. Be creative and to the point, so you have a higher chance of opening your message and responding.

5. Submit things on time and in advance! Give journalists plenty of time to read your pitch and think of a story. Two weeks in advance should be the minimum, if possible.

6. Make it easy. Proofread, proofread, proofread. Never send a journalist a pitch that has typos in it. It will most likely be rejected immediately.

7. Ensure that your by-line is correct. In addition to this, include all the necessary contact information for your client.

8. Meet your client face-to-face. Just knowing someone through e-mails or from their Twitter picture is not adequate.

9. Sell your story, but don’t write it for the journalist. Write conversationally, and do not use such formal language that it sounds like you are writing the journalist’s story.

10. Send everything in the correct format. Make sure all pictures and documents sent are in the format the journalist asks for.

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