The notion of summer camp conjures up a variety of images including swimming and canoeing with friends, the shared experience of learning a new sport or outdoor activity, and the camaraderie of a camp side cookout. For the broadcast media, these visual images can be particularly compelling and a reason to cover the “story of the camp experience.”
Most major cities are served by an ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox affiliate. With the growth of the cable television market, you will find most cities also have a local access station. Many of these stations produce their own morning, noon, evening, and weekend coverage. When pitching broadcast media, it is important to identify which broadcast segments are appropriate for your story. Usually feature news stories are covered in the morning or weekend time slots.
Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when pitching broadcast media:
- In most media markets, you will likely pitch your story to the assignment editor. It is best to send an email pitch first followed by a phone call. Your email should explain to the editor why your story is worthy of consideration. It should also include a reference to the camp spokesperson as well as a summary of camp activities the reporter would likely cover.
- You will also want to identify the reporters and editors that cover issues relating to youth development and camp. It is important to build relationships with these reporters and provide them with information on your camp.
- In addition to a pitch sent via email, you may consider sending an information kit on your camp. The kit may include background on the camp and activities as well as a bio on the camp director and/or camp spokesperson.
- It is always best to follow-up your correspondence with a personal phone call. All reporters face deadlines so it's best to reach them when it is convenient for them. You should avoid calling television reporters within an hour or two of their broadcast.
- Once a reporter has agreed to cover your story, you will need to find out specifics on the interview including:
- How long will they need to be on-site?
- Will the interview be live or taped?
- What types of footage do they need?
- Do they require b-roll footage?
- What are their technical requirements? For example, will they need a flat, open space to park a satellite truck?
- You control the interview. Prepare your talking points in advance and discuss with the reporter the locations and activities he/she can expect to shoot.
- The interview begins once the reporter enters your property. Take into consideration the neatness of the campgrounds and camp buildings.
- Children under the age of 18 will need their parents to sign a waiver in advance of any media interviews.
Try to tape the interview and assess the outcome. How many calls did you receive as a result of the story? How did you articulate your key messages?