Flip heads and earn headlines: Q&A with NPR’s Steve Drummond

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Radio microphone

Steve Drummond is a senior editor and government producer at NPR, the place leads the schooling reporting group. A senior editor at NPR for over 20 years, he’s obtained three Peabody Awards, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and the Edward R. Murrow Award.

He’s additionally writer of “The Watchdog: How the Truman Committee Battled Corruption and Helped Win World Warfare Two,” which was printed this month.

Forward of his media panel on the June 5-6 PR Each day’s Media Relations Convention in Washington, D.C., we sat with Drummond to every thing from learn how to develop sturdy relationships with busy journalists to the most effective methods to spark curiosity in newsrooms on your information:

What’s the most important risk to the media at this time as you see it— and what does that imply to the PR professionals who work with busy, harried and even anxious reporters at this time? 

There’s an excellent cause it’s the FIRST modification — it’s among the many most vital rights we’ve got as residents and as a individuals. That stated, the most important risk at this time, I might argue, is the disinformation and misinformation flooding the Web that makes it more durable for individuals to determine what’s true and what isn’t. These different points are actually massive, however in my private opinion this can be a main risk.



How can the press earn again public belief amid all this dis/misinformation?

By doing what we’ve at all times finished — cowl the information pretty and brazenly and truthfully. Sure that’s more durable to do than ever, however that’s what makes it extra vital to take action.

Are you anxious concerning the potential affect of AI on journalism? In that case, how will we reply to that potential risk—what ought to newsrooms be doing?

I believe there’s a variety of hypothesis proper now about AI, and positively a variety of issues. Like so many technological advances, it has each the potential to do good and the potential to be disruptive and dangerous. As somebody who will not be an skilled on the topic, I believe I’ll simply have to look at and wait and see how this problem includes.

Shifting to the PR perspective, what’s your recommendation to media relations professionals about constructing a trusted relationship with A-list journalists?

Constructing a trusted relationship is a two-way avenue. Essentially the most useful factor in my expertise is transparency — the willingness to inform the journalist what you possibly can, and to be open and sincere about what you possibly can’t or received’t say. Essentially the most irritating, and I believe dangerous, factor is when info or solutions are usually not forthcoming and there isn’t an excellent rationalization for why.

Do you will have any storytelling recommendation you possibly can share with PR professionals?

Properly, I’m in radio journalism and the medium is closely narrative pushed. Explaining how a narrative will have an effect on precise human beings strengthens the story for us tremendously. After all that doesn’t essentially imply discovering a handy individual to interview — that may assist, however it will probably additionally appear to be spoon-feeding. That stated, an actual try to elucidate how an initiative, product or program will have an effect on our viewers immediately is extraordinarily useful and is one thing PR professionals also needs to take note whoever they pitch.

OK, digging deeper into that—any further recommendation for crafting compelling pitches?

I’d argue that what works greatest are the identical rules that work greatest for us in telling a narrative to our viewers: Keep away from the jargon of your commerce or occupation, maintain the numbers to a minimal, clarify how the story impacts individuals and supply the context and background that you already know the reporter will want. Typically, one of the best ways to craft a compelling pitch is to maintain the lanes clear by chopping down on the extraneous or superfluous pitches, so reporters know there’s an excellent cause while you attain out to them. That approach, the pitch doesn’t get buried beneath all the opposite pitches in our inboxes.

Be part of Steve Drummond at PR Each day’s Media Relations Convention in Washington, D.C. on June 5 and 6. He’ll converse alongside media and media relations insiders from The Hill, from the U.S. Navy, APCO, Mars Inc., Southwest Airways, Raytheon, The North Face and extra.