Meet the Media: Insights from Editors at The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press

By: Megan Peterson

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Megan Peterson is a Communications Executive at MCCI (Mort Crim Communications, Inc.), a Detroit Economic Club Young Leader member, a national/Detroit chapter member of PRSA and a PR volunteer for The Lake House in St. Clair Shores.

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Meet the Media

One of the things I love about PRSA Detroit is the organization’s dedication to providing a variety of events. On December 2, 2015 Business Wire and PRSA Detroit, along with IABC Detroit and SPJ Detroit, hosted a ‘Meet the Media’ event at The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press.

People’s Doorsteps Have Changed

Robert Huschka, executive editor of the Detroit Free Press kicked things off with a bang. He touched on the transformation from print to digital, and the importance of monitoring each of those audiences. (Notably, the Detroit Free Press attracts half a million readers on Sunday.) He explained that it doesn’t matter if the story is important, it’s how the Detroit Free Press tells it and where the story is placed (digital and/or print) that makes an impact.

Robert Huschka, Detroit Free Press

Robert Huschka, Detroit Free Press

‘People’s doorsteps have changed,” Huschka said. “Every day we’re in a bigger digital space (as opposed to print).” He feels that not all metrics are created equal, which is why the Detroit Free Press monitors a variety of metrics that range from page views to social engagement.

When asked what PR pros can do to intrigue reporters, Huschka shared that explaining how the story resonates to Detroit Free Press readers is the ticket to developing positive relationships.

Fun fact: 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. are the peak digital times, and noon is when there are desktop spikes.

Still Writing Stories that Count

Gary Miles, managing editor of The Detroit News was next up.

“We will continue to post the tough stories,” Miles said. He explained that despite the need to evaluate metrics and audience preferences, The Detroit News is dedicated to telling stories that are important, even though they may not have a high predicted traction.

Gary Miles, Detroit News

Gary Miles, Detroit News

He had plenty of love for PR pros: “PR professionals are under appreciated; you all play a critical role and I appreciate you,” Miles said. He went on to say that the best way PR professionals can be of help to journalists is to keep them honest. He admits that it’s harder now more than ever to penetrate a newsroom because of all the different platforms to reach journalists (email, phone call, Twitter, etc.) and everyone has different preferences.

Tour Time 

Walter Middlebrook, assistant managing editor of The Detroit News rounded out the evening with a tour of his newsroom. Attendees were able to check out the breaking news desk, and the conference room where the news team meets three times each day to talk about the run-down.

PRSA Detroit and IABC Detroit Members at Business Wire Meet the Media Event

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Feature Photo:”Newspapers B&W (4)” by NS Newsflash is licensed under CC BY 2.0.