June 2018

10 Tips for Helping and Not Annoying Reporters

By Lyle Moran

Los Angeles Daily Journal

Do you want to pitch your case to a reporter? Or has a reporter contacted you regarding a case? Here, Los Angeles Daily Journal reporter Lyle Moran provides ten tips to help — and not annoy — reporters:

  1. Submit pitches that highlight in a concise way how a case or event is unique. Long-winded pitches tend to be overlooked.
  2. If you send a press release, make sure the contact person and key participants involved in the news described are available for interviews in a timely manner.
  3. Don’t bury reporters with documents. Send the key ones along and be willing to provide additional information if requested.
  4. Avoid asking a reporter to send all of their questions in advance. Most journalists are fine with giving the subject area and general themes of an interview, but don’t want scripted answers during an interview.
  5. Show a willingness to provide the other side’s legal documents in a case, which demonstrates your desire to play fair and ensure reporters have the full context.
  6. Provide the highest-profile attorneys in a case or newsmakers when possible. Reporters always want to hear from those most intimately involved with an event and who would have the best sense of what took place.
  7. Try not to send a press release about an event that has already happened. We don’t want old news and would like the opportunity to attend an event if we are interested.
  8. Don’t ignore questions you don’t want to answer, such as queries about a ruling that went against your client. You will earn more credibility if you respond in both good times and bad.
  9. Avoid telling a reporter that the story they are pursuing “is not a story.” That will not get you anywhere and only embolden the reporter.
  10. If you have a concern about the way a story is being approached or how an article turns out, contact the reporter first. Going over a reporter’s head to an editor without sharing your issues won’t make for a productive relationship.

Lyle Moran is a reporter with the Los Angeles Daily Journal newspaper. He covers law schools, the State Bar of California and San Diego litigation for the statewide legal paper. You can reach him at lyle_moran@dailyjournal.com and find him on Twitter @lylemoran.