This month, we kicked off our Chapter’s virtual programming with an excellent Q&A session with Detroit News Managing Editor Kevin J. Hardy. Kevin, a 15-year veteran at The Detroit News who started as an intern, offered Chapter members plenty of candor and insights into his role and the publication itself.
Here are our top five takeaways:
- Kevin expressed that PR pros should always work visuals into their pitch. Additionally, he appreciates when the basic information about the story is at the top of a pitch. This way he can quickly decipher who is sending the email and the high level who/what/where/when/why before he dives into the details of the release.
- He recommends pitching a reporter and editor at the same time in case the reporter is too busy. If the editor likes the story, he or she can then assign it to a different reporter.
- Relationship building between PR pros and journalists is critical. Kevin indicated he gets up to 3,000 emails per week, so having meaningful connections outside of email is important to him.
- In his role, he’s focused on providing readers with fair, unbiased coverage. He wants stories to reflect the opinions of readers and cover stories all across Michigan. (As the point above drove home, non-Michigan stories are a no-no.)
- Kevin is very metrics-driven, often diving into stories’ analytics to understand how and why the article did well. He said, “the days of posting good news when we get to it is over.” Knowing when his audience is consuming news digitally and when their print deadlines are dictates when and what stories are published. Interestingly, he noted that during COVID-19 the metrics have deviated since everyone is able to consume more media while working from home.
Thank you to those that could join us for this outstanding event! If you missed it, please be sure to watch it:
Megan Bonelli (formerly Peterson) is an Account Supervisor at Franco and a Detroit PRSA board member/blog committee chair.
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