National Capital Chapter

Media Professionals Share Insight Into Successfully Pitching Ideas During Discussions Hosted by Professional Development Committee

By Denise Douglas, PRSA NCC Board Member

The Professional Development Committee has been on a roll in 2024 with a number of informative, innovative and timely events, both in person and virtually.

In the most recent “Meet the Media” discussion on June 18th committee chair, David Rodewald spoke with Kate Marino, who is an Executive Editor with Axios. Kate is a former reporter, who gave attendees to the virtual session great perspective about pitching story ideas to the media.

“It’s important that you say something distinctive or insightful in your pitch,” she told them. “Explain why it matters with a forward-looking lens.”

Kate also touched on do’s and don’ts. For example, it is a good idea to build a relationship with reporters and know the subject matter that they cover to ensure you are pitching to the right person. However, stay away from flooding the individual with emails if they aren’t responding to your pitch. Move on and try another idea.

Throughout the session Kate talked about the company, which has a family of newsletters and receives more than 6-million site visitors monthly. Axios covers both national and local news topics and often keep their articles to an average length of 300 words.

In April, NBC4’s investigative reporter Tracee Wilkins kicked off the Meet the Media session, sharing insight on best practices for pitching stories to local television stations. Tracee covered Prince George’s County news for over a decade, where she broke numerous stories and won awards before recently joining the investigative team. She shared tips and took questions from participants.

“Both sessions were great,” said Rodewald. “Our goal on the Professional Development Committee is to help public relations professionals build their skills. Some may be at the beginning of the career, while others may be more seasoned. Either way the sessions that we present are developed so that everyone can get something out of them.”

In addition to the Meet the Media sessions, the committee has hosted discussions on artificial intelligence, social media measurement, effectively communicating messages and much more. Members also organize happy hours and write for the chapter’s blog.

“Our committee is very dedicated,” said Rodewald. “I am excited every time we meet because everyone always has great ideas and we work well together.”

The committee meets each month to development ideas and is always looking for new input.

Members are always planning for the next event. Currently, the committee is planning to have Gini Dietrich speak on the changes in the PESO Model in September and tour of Capital One Center with a fireside chat with Anu Rangappa of Monumental Sports.

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