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CBS Information exec Shawna Thomas’ 3 suggestions for constructing higher relationships with journalists

Shawna Thomas of CBS News speaking at the 2022 Top Women in communications Awards

When Shawna Thomas, govt producer of CBS Mornings, addressed the honorees for Ragan and PR Each day’s Prime Girls in Communications Awards final Thursday, June 16, in New York Metropolis, she took pains to level out the similarities between the position of communicators and journalists.

“My job is all about storytelling,” Thomas stated. “Your job is all about storytelling.”

And whereas she pragmatically identified that these two teams may not ever be quick associates, there may be nonetheless a mutual respect between the professions that may assist produce nice tales.

In a keynote dialog with Ragan Communications CEO Diane Schwartz, Thomas provided strategies for PR execs trying to get their shoppers featured within the information.

The large takeaway? It’s not all about you.

  1. Inform a narrative with characters

As Thomas identified, each journalists and PR execs are storytellers at coronary heart. But it surely’s simple to neglect that while you’re being requested to push a brand new product onerous.

Thomas revealed that one solution to get featured in one of many applications she produces is to assist them inform a narrative through which your shopper is only one character. She gave the instance of a brand new product for breast most cancers – however the pitch focuses on the particular person coping with that sickness somewhat than purely on the product.

“When individuals come to me with actually good pitches, it’s as a result of they thought by way of how that is going to look on TV information,” Thomas defined. “They usually’ve thought by way of who the characters are, who can speak about this factor, who can discuss credibly about it.”

Come ready with names and cellphone numbers of potential sources, Thomas suggested –- and settle for the truth that the precise story you wish to inform will most likely not wind up on TV.

  1. Be a useful resource

Not each dialog with a journalist is prone to result in press in your shopper. However that doesn’t imply it gained’t be important to constructing a terrific relationship that can repay down the highway.

Thomas urged making your self and the subject material specialists in your group obtainable for background conversations that may assist enhance a journalist’s understanding of a subject.

“These conversations are actually furthering the relationships between two individuals,” she stated. “As a result of you already know I’m really within the factor and I’m not simply making an attempt to get a horrible soundbite out of your boss. And I do know you perceive that our job requires data, factual data.”

Constructing that relationship can ensure that once they do want an on-the-record remark or soundbite, your identify involves the highest of her thoughts.

  1. Nice CEO company can discuss to regular individuals

When requested to call an impressive govt storyteller, one from whom communicators can be taught, Thomas urged Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase. Your CEO may not have fairly as a lot identify recognition, however there are nonetheless issues any govt can be taught from the monetary powerhouse to be extra interesting to bookers.

“He’s actually good at speaking to regular individuals,” Thomas defined. “And also you don’t discover that fairly often with somebody who’s at [his] stage.”

However much more than that, Dimon can speak about broader developments that reach past the vary and scope of his group.

“Okay, there’s this financial disaster that we’re on the verge of proper now, concluded Thomas. “What does that imply, not simply in your firm, however in your shoppers and in your shopper’s shoppers, in addition to for the typical banker? He can analyze the financial scenario in a manner that everyone understands.”


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