Sam Whitmore Discussion on COVID-19 & Media Environment
Sam Whitmore for more than two decades has been a trusted and informed resource for PR firms around the globe. He founded the Sam Whitmore Media Survey in 1998, to help communications officials find the right sources and outlets across the media landscape for news, announcements and commentary on today’s events. So we wanted to ask Sam how he thinks communications professionals should be thinking before pitching news to a media audience that is engulfed with covering a global pandemic.
SutherlandGold: What is your take on how business and technology news desks are going to cover this going forward?
Whitmore: They have no choice but to cover Covid -- if not directly, then through context. Example: so-and-so offers a new service… so a journalist might ask, “How well-capitalized is the vendor? Can the men and women who deliver and support the service work effectively from home? Could the service be as effective in an era of metered bandwidth, which we one day might be looking at?” So in that sense every story is a Covid story from here forward.
SutherlandGold: What advice do you have for companies that are trying to insert themselves into the current news environment?
Whitmore: If you find yourself playing Twister to find your Covid angle, don’t pitch. If on the other hand you’ve got a clear angle like this, obviously you are OK.
SutherlandGold: Do you think there are some types of news stories that will get more consideration than others (from the perspective of PR people pitching)
Whitmore: (Pitches) that showcase noble behavior in a man or woman -- in the first two graphs -- will get the most consideration. Especially as death tolls mount.