Interview with a Journalist: MLive's Business & Entertainment


I’m going to get straight to the point on this blog post. I’m here to share valuable information to all Public Relation Professionals everywhere!

If you’re a publicist, you probably spend a large portion of your day pitching on behalf of your clients. Media Relations is a personal favorite but unless you have an established relationship with the point of contact, you’re lucky if your pitch gets read at all. Well, today I am launching my “Interview with a…” series. I will be talking to editors, journalists, bloggers and producers so they can describe how they like things done.

Today I interviewed Business and Entertainment Reporter Ian Thibodeau of MLive who will share his personal preference on pitches.

What is the one thing you look for in a pitch?

I feel bad about this, but if the subject line of your pitch is bad, I’m not even going to read the email most of the time. Be professional. No CAPS, no exclamation points. If your subject line looks like you had too many cups of coffee before writing me, I’m scared to open your document. If I do open your email (because you seem like a professional, level-headed person) just give me the news. Tell me why your event/client is important and what they’re doing. Don’t tease me. Personally, I think it’s silly for press releases to have a tease. I don’t have time to wonder “what’s this about” sometimes, and I’m small-time. I can’t imagine what bigger reporters than myself have on their plate every day. So, tell me why this matters, and how I can get a hold of whoever the release is about — and respond to my email! I love it when a publicist or spokesperson replies within seconds of a follow-up email or phone call. Oh, and edit your work.

What is your biggest pet peeve when you receiving pitches?

Again, the subject line. The subject of your email should be short. It shouldn’t end in an ellipses. After that, formatting. Put the contact information at the top, write in paragraphs — or don’t — but be consistent. Don’t have three or four headline decks in different font sizes.

When receiving emails from a stranger/new contact, what does it take for you to open it?

If I’m going to open an email, it’s got to be personal. It’s way too easy to tell when I’m part of an email blast from someone desperate for contacts. If you’re reaching out, call the reporter by name, reference their past work and current publication. Figure out how your client fits into my beat.

When is the best time to send pitches?

This is a weird question. The best time to send pitches is sort of a two-fold problem. If you want your news published that day, get it out early. Around 7 a.m., when the reporter is probably flipping through their email before they head to the office. That said, everyone is sending early emails, and you might get washed out. I’m more likely to notice something that rolls in early afternoon, but that might delay publishing time.

How many pitches do you receive a day?

It’s 12:51 p.m. On a Wednesday, and I’ve received 20 emails containing some form of a press release. I’ve opened most of them. Some have been sent directly to the trash.

About The Author

Teia Harris is the Founder/Senior Publicist of Love Publicity, a public relations boutique focused on lifestyle brands. Teia has launched the Love Harder Campaign promoting self-love in style. Teia is a product of a vigorously working blue-collar city, Detroit, Michigan and no shortcuts have been taken on her journey to build her brand, all while simultaneously helping others build theirs.

Teia Wallington