While businesses face challenges that seem to change daily, one constant for most businesses is that visibility created by good media coverage will drive sales and attract clients. Epoch 5 President Katherine Heaviside recently moderated a media panel that offered help to every organization in the room with getting that positive media exposure.

“Expert Tips for Great Media Coverage” was organized by the Hauppauge Industrial Association (HIA).  As the moderator, Katherine turned to Long Island’s Media “A List” — Newsday Managing Editor Rich Rosen; Newsday Business Editor Bob McGough; Long Island Business News Publisher John Kominicki; Long Island Press Publisher Jed Morey; WCBS 880 Reporter Sophia Hall; and Patch’s Greg Sleter.

Our panel of experts wasted no time telling the audience the “dos and don’ts” of media pitching. For anyone not in the Newsday auditorium for this engaging discussion, here are some insights on pitching stories that sent the audience scribbling:

Patch Editor Greg Sleter, whose Long Island Patch sites are hyper-local, said that when he receives a generic pitch that goes to every one of his sites, it’s a surefire way to get the pitch deleted.

Newsday Business Editor Bob McGough and LIBN Publisher John Kominicki both agreed that the worst pitches come from people who don’t take the time to really know the paper – pitching them lifestyle stories or stories that are out of the Long Island area.

WCBS 880 Reporter Sophia Hall described being “conned” by a PR rep into interviewing a 98-year-old man for a story on health care. She asked ahead of time whether the man would be able to discuss his life on air. The answer was an emphatic, “yes.” When she arrived, the interviewee didn’t even know his own name. Sophia refused to interview the PR person’s client — who was also present — and put the flack on her list of people she will never trust again.

Jed Morey of the Long Island Press does a great many investigative pieces that have been responsible for everything from bringing down dishonest politicians to squashing ill-conceived projects. Not surprisingly, he said his most promising telephone pitches usually start with the caller saying, “Don’t let anyone know that I told you this…”

Look for our next post on other panel discussion points beyond pitching, including the impact of social media on traditional news outlets.

View the story on Huntington Patch