In today’s #TVTuesday blog, I’m interviewing Sonya Goins. Read about her favorite story from Habitat for Humanity.
Q: What’s your role at your television station?
A: I’m a news reporter at CCX Media, Community Television Station in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. My job is to find compelling stories from the Twin Cities NW metro.
Q: What is the best pitch you’ve ever received, and why?
A: One of the best pitches I received is from Habitat for Humanity. They were building a home for a veteran who had just lost his leg fighting in Afghanistan. The Veteran was on-site, helping to make his home handicapped accessible. He was grateful and opened to being interviewed.
Q.What’s the worst pitch you’ve ever received, and why?
A.On many occasions, people pitched stories that didn’t live up to the promise—either the main character doesn’t show up, or the story was a commercial instead of a news story. My biggest complaint is getting press releases with misspellings of people’s names. This week, a reputable organization sent me a PR with the name CEO misspelled. Luckily, I check their website to confirm spelling.
Q: How do you like to be pitched?
A: I prefer emails. The more concise, information, the better. The news day is very hectic, and it’s sometimes easier to read an email than talk on the phone.
Q: If you’re on the fence about a pitch, what pushes you over?
A: Typically it’s the news value. What will viewers get out of this story? Timing is also crucial, is the subject pertinent to what’s happening now?
Q: Is there something you wish public relations people knew or did?
A: Sometimes things change, a reporter might get sent out on a different story and unable to cover the scheduled event.
Q: What makes someone a good interview?
A: Someone personable, someone who knows the subject but doesn’t talk in what we call “cop gibberish.” Speak normal, not too stiff.
Q.Which social media platform do you pay the most attention to?
A.I pay attention to Twitter the most. Information is so fast these days. Organizations like the MN State Patrol put out press releases via Twitter.
Q: Where do most of your story ideas come from?
A: Most of my interviews come from sources in the community or social media platforms. Twitter and Facebook are excellent resources for reaching out to potential people to interview.
Q.Anything else you’d like to add?
A: If you’re pitching a story to a news organization make sure it has a news hook. Most reputable news operations shy away from commercials. However, you can get your message out and have a news hook. For example, if you have a BBQ expert who is selling sauces, you might reel in news people by saying something like, “BBQ Safety Tips for Memorial Day, from Chef Big Daddy.” During the segment, Big Daddy can still talk about his sauces.
In addition to her role at CCX, Sonya is a Crohn’s Disease warrior who not only raises awareness of this chronic condition but is also a rock star volunteer and fundraiser.