By: Jennifer Pacheco
At tonight’s meeting, we were visited by representatives from aerospace company Lockheed Martin who talked to us about the company’s Communications Leadership Development Program. It is a two-year program that offers graduating students a chance to gain work experience in employee communications and in media relations and marketing. The deadline to apply for the program is October 15th and the application can be found at lockheedmartinjobs.com/cldp. Things to remember when submitting your application include: your cover letter is the first writing sample your potential employers see, have 2-4 people proofread your cover letter and resume, and create a writing portfolio with various voices (e.g., news article voice, Twitter voice, Facebook voice, etc.)
Our featured speaker Chris Sadeghi of KXAN was able to provide us with insight about how to best pitch stories to news reporters. He recommended pitching stories that directly affect Austin-area locals and making sure the stories have “news pegs.” Take the BBH Labs project that turned Austin’s homeless into mobile hotspots during South by Southwest for example. In 2012, attendees of the festival could locate homeless people wearing t-shirts that read, “I’m (name here), a 4G hotspot,” and get access to the Verizon MiFi 4G hotspot that the homeless individual wore on a lanyard around his neck. Using this service incurred a fee, of which 100% was given to the homeless person whose hotspot you were using. The “news pegs” in this story include the homeless, the digital divide, and SXSW. The story put a face on the homeless people of Austin and allowed us to hear their stories while also addressing a bigger problem at hand, described by Sadeghi as using actual people as “just another way to get access.”
When sending pitches through email, he advised placing the most important elements of your pitch in the subject line and at the top of your email, and making sure you send the information to the right place. KXAN has a morning segment that focuses on light news, evening segments that cover hard news, and a segment that focuses on lifestyle, providing information like tips for barbecuing. To decide which audience would be the most relevant to be exposed to your story, Sadeghi recommended asking to sit in on meetings to develop a sense of what type of news different outlets focus on covering. He also recommended providing all the information possible, such as people related to the story he can talk to and where/when/how he can talk to them. Lastly, Sadeghi reminded us to try to become/remain social media-savvy because that is the “current frontier,” and admitted that one of the best ways to reach KXAN was through the news station’s Twitter account.