That alone is a good reason for getting to know journalists individually.
On another level, it enables us to become familiar with shared journalistic traits and characteristics. Ask yourself how journalists are coping within the industry, particularly in areas of print and expansion into the digital realm.
It’s important to take note of Journalistic dispositions.
1. They hate jargon.
Former New York Times technology writer David Pogue, said buzzwords were a “universal pet peeve,” at least among his fellow tech journalists. Maybe that applies on an even wider scale.
By definition, journalists are word experts. Even as they often grow jaded and distrustful of their sources and authority, journalists remain sensitive—at times hypersensitive—to the use and abuse of language.
For that reason it is best to approach them in the correct manner, with direct, plain, and truthful words.
2. They’re being stretched thin.
Every profession has its “enterprising” and “lazy” practitioners. Most fall in between. Yet journalism has acquired a reputation for inefficiency. In a recent Bloomberg opinion piece Megan McArdle attacked that line of thought in a recent Bloomberg opinion piece, “Lazy Journalists Aren’t to Blame for the Death of Print.”
What’s to blame, she said, was the loss of ad revenue, not the output of journalists, who are as efficient as ever. There are fewer of them, to be sure. Over the past decade, many have had to scramble to maintain print products even as they shifted into digital-first mode. Journalists can be hypersensitive; they also are often overworked.
3. Sometimes, they’re predisposed to a particular story.
What else do we know about journalists? They can be biased
Not all journalists “pre-write” their stories and go searching for quotes, but most have inclinations, if not biases, and are already under the influence of a story line.
What to do?
Your job is to become another influence. The templates that journalists carry around with them are often as much time-saving reference points as ideological crutches.
Figure out what that prevailing narrative is, then position your news or story pitch within that framework, using simple, direct language. Whenever possible, include a range of evidence—sources, quotes, trend lines, and other data. Let your target journalist connect the dots.
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