By: Melissa “You know what I need? I need you not to call me. I'm just too busy. Email me.” (CLICK) This sums up a recent phone experience I had with a novice reporter I was calling on behalf of a client. She was so eager to schedule an initial conversation with my client, and then, in follow up, treated me with no respect. The fact is, reporters are being bombarded by deadlines, multiple stories per day, phone calls, social media inquiries and emails, and they don't have the bandwidth to always build phone-based relationships with PR reps – a connection that once dominated the industry. But, in all actuality, should they make the time for the value that the PR profession delivers to them daily? The best stories that I've placed for clients at target publications have been with reporters with whom I formed phone relationships. However, the decreases in advertising spend and the demand for instant news have changed the journalism landscape forever. Some journalism graduates are now landing online reporting jobs through internships, and tenured reporters are finding themselves underpaid, overworked and flocking to the “dark side” by connecting with the marketing and public relations professionals who once pitched them daily. Look at the most recent and shocking moves from long-time reporters at Forbes and the Boston Business Journal, Dan Lyons, Eric Savitz and Lisa Vanderpool. But, hey, you, reporter newbie: remember what your predecessors have built, the relationships that helped them, and the breaking news and trend stories that they wrote and you loved reading. Remember that email and social media did not always exist, and reporters were forced to get to know PR reps and form relationships over random topics like the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry. They relied on PR professionals hundreds of times in their careers to help them craft stories and provide perspective, deliver last-minute photos, and gain expert sources or quote approvals. We understand your workload and the demands on you– we're feeling it too. NOW, more than ever, is the time to connect with smart PR representatives who can help you. So, pick up the phone. Your next call might be a killer story (and a person who could get you your next job). When do you reach for the phone ahead of email, IM or text?
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