Follow @npcommunicator on | NPCommunicator HOME | About

7 Tips to Building and Maintaining Your Media List

Pitching your story begins with a good media list. Taking the time and care to put together a media list that puts you in touch with the right reporter is a smart investment of resources that increases your chances of success.

Use these tips to create a media list that will help you place your story.

  1. Pay attention to the news. You can’t pitch outlets if you don’t know what they cover. Think about it—if a court reporter gets pitched an education story, they’re going to assume you haven’t done your homework. Read the paper daily. Look at bylines to see who’s writing about what. Turn on the radio in the car or watch the morning news to get a sense of who’s covering the issues you work on.
  1. Think about where your story might appear. Is it a lighthearted story with a visual? Try the morning news shows. Is it neighborhood specific? Look for community papers or neighborhood bloggers. Think about where the story fits and make sure those outlets are on your media list
  1. Use Getting On Air, Online & Into Print to identify outlets, reporters and contact information. Often considered the bible of PR professionals in Chicago, this media guide contains the most accurate contact information for Chicago-area outlets and reporters. Search by name, beat and type of outlet to find the right media contact for your story. Subscribe to the print guide and the online guide, found at, to complete your toolbox. Think of the print guide like the atlas you keep in your glove box and the online guide like Google Maps, a dynamic online tool that’s updated regularly. Used together, you can find almost any media contact in the Chicagoland area.
  1. Identify your top three contacts at large outlets. When you’re preparing to pitch large outlets like the Chicago Tribune or WLS-TV Channel 7, identify a few reporters at each outlet. You may think the morning producer is your best bet, but she may be on vacation. Or, the health care reporter might turn you down. Whatever the case, if you have a #2 and a #3 contact on your list, you’ll have back-up names and contact information at your fingertips when your #1 contact doesn’t work out.
  2. Save your media lists in a place that your colleagues can access. Maintaining media lists can seem tedious when you have a million things to do, but if everyone at your organization pitches in, it will make the whole process easier. Your colleague Jim meets a reporter at a luncheon who might be interested in your work? Make sure Jim adds the reporter to the list. Tell staff where the media list is saved so they can use it and update it year round.
  1. Read blogs by media watchers. Follow news watchers such as Michael Miner at Chicago Reader  and Robert Feder at TimeOut Chicago. They have their fingers on the pulse of Chicago’s media landscape and often write about important newsroom trends and staff changes.
  1. Pitch and update. In this ever-shifting media landscape, phone numbers, beats and assignments change regularly. As you pitch, you’ll gain useful information about how to reach reporters. Update your list as you go. This will make it easier to use the next time you conduct media outreach.

Maintaining a good media list is an ongoing process. Make changes when you hear of a new outlet or a reporter who might be interested in your organization’s stories. Only a list that’s used and updated regularly will be reliable.

If you need help creating your list or looking for a good place to start, consider subscribing to our Media Guide or attend one of our upcoming trainings or webinars!

Building a Media List training is this coming October 18th!

What are some ways that have helped you maintain your media list? Leave us a comment, we would love to know!

Print this Post Print this Post

Category: Media Guide & Workshops, Tips, Trainings

Tagged: , , , , , ,

2 Responses

  1. […] Nonprofit Communicator Blog shares 7 Tips to Building and Maintaining Your Media List […]

  2. […] 7 Tips to Building and Maintaining Your Media List [Community Media Workshop] 0 Comments […]

Leave a Reply

Get Nonprofit Communicator in Your Inbox!

Enter your email address:

Subscribe in a reader


Add to Technorati Favorites

Alltop, all the top stories