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PR pro describes pitching health stories to reporters

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Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

Jessica Levco, of Ragan Communications, provides some insight into how at least one public relations professional is pitching health stories to reporters – and perhaps taking advantage of staffing shortages in newsrooms.

The article offers suggestions from Danielle Cass, the communications manager for Kaiser Permanente, that include creating videos, doing practice interviews with experts and putting news in proper context in press releases. She also that hospital communicators should write a press release just as they want to see it appear in the publication.

She gives the example of pitching Anderson Cooper’s producer about how extreme obesity is affecting more children at younger ages. When she tuned into an episode of Anderson Cooper 360, he used two of the three bullet points that she e-mailed.

“This is a reflection of what’s happening in the media,” Cass says. “A lot of media outlets are short-staffed. If you do your due diligence and put together a well-rounded piece, you could see your press release picked up word for word.”

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