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How To Pitch a PR Story to a Broadcast Newsroom

Be prepared, pitch well, and you should be fine.

Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer


This is a guest post by Lisah Silfwer.

How do you pitch a PR story to a broad­cast newsroom?

In this post, I want to give you my best tips on pitch­ing a PR story to a broad­cast newsroom.

I work at TV4, a com­mer­cial nation­al news broad­caster in Sweden. I’m a news anchor, try­ing my best daily to con­vey essen­tial stor­ies as clearly and promptly as pos­sible. It’s chal­len­ging but fun.

For a journ­al­ist, hav­ing a net­work of news sources is valu­able. PR sources are essen­tial, too. But let’s be hon­est: Most journ­al­ists are scep­tic­al of PR stor­ies. Still, as long as you pitch your story well, you should be okay.

Here we go:

How To Pitch a Visual PR Story

Pitching a Weak PR Story is a Bad Idea

Pitching a good story well can be stress­ful. Many good stor­ies are com­pet­ing for atten­tion at the same time. So, don’t make it harder on your­self by pitch­ing a weak story. Keeping your fin­gers crossed and hop­ing for the best isn’t a great strategy. You’re wast­ing both your time and ours.

Boil Your Story Down to One Sentence

Be pre­pared to sum­mar­ise your PR story in one or two sen­tences imme­di­ately. Then, when you con­tact the report­er, you’ll be pre­pared to be brief. If we’re inter­ested, we’ll want to hear everything. But first, the journ­al­ist must under­stand that your story won’t waste valu­able journ­al­ist­ic resources bet­ter spent elsewhere.

Remember That Our Viewers Comes First

A story could be crit­ic­al to your organ­isa­tion. But is it crit­ic­al to our view­ers? If the story isn’t rel­ev­ant for a broad­er audi­ence, maybe there are oth­er more trade-spe­cif­ic media where your story would be more rel­ev­ant. I under­stand that a story could be of the utmost import­ance to a spe­cif­ic organ­isa­tion or even a whole industry. But please remem­ber to tell your story from the per­spect­ive of the news­room’s audience.

There Are Two Sides to Every Story — Even Yours

No report­er with integ­rity will cov­er only one side of a story. And for every good news story out there, someone did­n’t want that story to air. So, who would hate to see your story mak­ing the even­ing news? Just tell us, please and save us a few minutes of research.

Be Prepared to Answer Tough Questions

If your PR story seems inter­est­ing, the TV report­er will prob­ably take the lead and ask uncom­fort­able ques­tions. Uncomfortable ques­tions are a good sign if you want your story to go on air. Ensure you’re pre­pared to give us straight answers instead of stick­ing to pre-writ­ten cor­por­ate state­ments and jargon.

Give Us the Story First (If Possible)

National broad­cast news has a sig­ni­fic­ant impact on soci­ety. We owe it to our view­ers to give them the best journ­al­ist­ic stor­ies daily. As a rule of thumb: If your story is news­worthy, giv­ing us exclus­ive rights should increase your chances.

Make Sure to Prove Your Claims

Journalists must ensure that sources can back all their claims with sub­stan­ti­ated evid­ence. Confirmed inform­a­tion is cru­cial, espe­cially for PR stor­ies; we don’t start dig­ging for evid­ence whenev­er an organ­isa­tion wants us to run its latest PR story. Have doc­u­ment­a­tion ready. Have third-party stat­ist­ics and state­ments ready. Make sure your spokespeople are access­ible. Be pre­pared to sug­gest inde­pend­ent and unbiased experts.

Understand that Broadcasters Must Tell Visual Stories

A broad­cast news­room is going to need to tell stor­ies visu­ally. We need on-cam­era inter­views and state­ments, graph­ics, cam­era foot­age, still frames, loc­a­tion shots etc. We make this work all the time for every story.

About the writer: Lisah Silfwer is a news anchor and journalist.

Signature - Jerry Silfwer - Doctor Spin

Thanks for read­ing. Please sup­port my blog by shar­ing art­icles with oth­er com­mu­nic­a­tions and mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als. You might also con­sider my PR ser­vices or speak­ing engage­ments.

PR Resource: More Guest Posts

Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at Spin Factory and KIX Communication Index. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Cover Photo

The cover photo isn't related to public relations; it's just a photo of mine. Think of it as a 'decorative diversion', a subtle reminder that there is more to life than strategic communication.

The cover photo has



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