How to foster relationships with the media and build cadence within the news cycle

Following on from advice around aligning your message to the news cycle and how best to deliver that message, we spoke to the same news and content professionals from the PA Media Group about how to effectively foster strong relationships with the media. Journalists are the gatekeepers to your story being used and reaching out to a wider audience, so it is key you keep them on side and work to their preferences. And here are some handy tips to help you build those relationships.

Bridgid Nzekwu – Managing Director, PA Media Academy

  • Know who are the key journalists covering your industry/sector/issues, connect with/follow them on social media (X, LinkedIn etc) to be across their areas of interest.
  • Offer meetings/briefings/commentary on big developments and stories in your sector
  • Less is more.  Send a press release only if it’s a significant story (ask yourself if it really is news or a story that the journalist will actually write about) and make sure the “sell” (what would be in the headline if it were published) is in the email subject header.
  • Provide access.  Invite journalists to visit key business sites.  Consider what they could photograph/film to tell the story of your organisation, project, team, product
  • Be open during tough times.  When things are going wrong, be available to answer questions and be open about what your organisation is doing to fix problems

Richard Woodward – Chief News Editor, PA Media

  • Know the journalists who work in the areas you are interested in and target them. Do your own research on this – many PR and media monitoring sites get this wrong.
  • Bear in mind that most reporters will not have time for lunches or coffees. Make you pitches short, sharp and to the point. Whether it gets used relies on many factors – most importantly the quality and then the speed.
  • Bear in mind it is a very crowded market. On some stories we can get hundreds of submissions. We can only use a few and the ones we think work and are from organisations we think our customers will be interested in.

Craig Gunn – Head of PA Media Assignments

  • Research the Newsroom: Before pitching your story, research the newsroom to understand the types of stories they cover, their editorial style, and the journalists who work there. Familiarise yourself with the beats and interests of specific reporters or editors who might be interested in your story. 
  • Personalise Your Pitch: Tailor your pitch to the specific newsroom and journalist you’re contacting. Reference previous stories they’ve covered related to your topic or explain why you think your story aligns with their interests and expertise.  
  • Follow Up: If you don’t receive a response to your initial pitch, don’t be afraid to follow up politely after a few days. Keep your follow-up concise and friendly and offer to provide any additional information or assistance the journalist may need. 
  • Build Relationships: Building relationships with journalists can increase your chances of successfully selling your story in the future. Attending industry events, network with journalists on social media, and offering yourself as a resource for future stories in your area of expertise. Establishing trust and rapport can make journalists more receptive to your pitches. 
  • Be Persistent but Respectful: It is important to be persistent in pitching your story, but also respectful of journalists’ time and priorities. If your story is not a good fit for a particular newsroom or journalist, do not take it personally. Keep refining your pitch and seeking out other opportunities to get your story covered. 
  • Consider Alternative Channels: If traditional newsrooms are not interested in your story, consider alternative channels such as online publications, blogs, podcasts, or social media influencers. These platforms can offer different opportunities for reaching your target audience and generating interest in your story. 

Do’s and Don’ts when trying to engage newsrooms


  • Call twice to check if we have got your content. 
  • Send the same content to multiple people. 
  • Call when a big live story is obviously running. 
  • Call first thing in the morning. 
  • Offer a story if it has already been used elsewhere. 
  • Think surveys are the answer. 
  • Send mindless fluff that is not news. 
  • Call to ask if you can send us something. 
  • Bother with over-the-top greetings in your email. 


  • Think words, pictures, video as a full package. 
  • Get to know the right reporters/specialists. 
  • Give plenty of notice. 
  • Think about newsrooms on Saturdays/Sundays.
  • Choose the right time to call. 
  • Think – is this a genuine news angle? 
  • Keep your message short and to the point. 
  • Be selective. 
  • Make sure your contact is available. 

Joe Pickover – Head of Video Services, PA Media

Tapping into relationships you already have is a good start. Whether the relationship be through someone in your own organisation or a contact you already have. A link of familiarity with the organisation you are trying to pitch to will always hold you in good stead. Make sure you keep a contacts book/document up to date with anyone you have interactions with, it will always help down the line.

Rebecca Speare-Cole – Sustainability Reporter, PA Media

  • Timing and Method – understand that every journalist is different when it comes to call/email preference and when to contact them.
  • Follow ups – journalists work differently, but email up to two times, call once. If they don’t respond after two emails, it probably means it’s not of interest.
  • Don’t pitch during a breaking story – try not to reach out in the middle of a big story or event. Journalists will have their hands full reporting that news.