Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Navigating the Changing Landscape of Pitching Healthcare Reporters

Members of the LCWA healthcare PR team recently attended a monthly PCC luncheon focused on navigating and learning how to more effectively pitch healthcare reporters. For LCWA, this was an especially interesting topic, as we proudly work with many healthcare networks, associations, non-profit organizations, etc. If there is a possibility of learning to better our clients, we’re there, and this panel discussion did not disappoint.

The panel included Justin DeJong, vice president for communications at the American Medical Association, Harris Meyer, senior reporter for Modern Healthcare, Alex Keown, freelance journalist covering the pharma and biotech industries, and Kristen Schorsch, healthcare reporter for Crain’s Chicago Business. Every panelist gave different insights into important topics for 2018, what they look for in pitches, how to grab their attention and what not to do when trying to reach them. Here are some of the most insightful tidbits we learned. 
  • The opioid epidemic, Medicare/Medicaid issues and finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease were the biggest stories in 2017, and the panelists expect these topics to continue to gain traction in 2018. Stories with data and new angles on these topics will be hot.
  • As we know very well, pitches should be done with thought. The person sending the
    pitch should do their homework, know the niche the reporter likes to write about and tailor their pitches to that. Reporters appreciate when they are presented with thoughtful, well-researched story ideas.
  • PR teams can grab a reporter’s attention by offering specific, on-the-point ideas of how their story could work for them. Including a way to make to make it a bigger, broader story is always helpful to reporters.
  • The panel recommended not trying to pitch a reporter a topic they have never covered. Take the time to understand the publication and pitch the editors and reporters based on their past coverage.
Overall, this panel had a lot to say about the evolution of the healthcare industry and how PR professionals can be of service to reporters. They also expressed their gratitude to great people, letting us know that we are of great value to them. PR professionals are the “bridge” to a story and provide support to the reporter that is often invaluable. 

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