Photo by Bob Wick/BLM
You may have a compelling, newsworthy story about the climate and biodiversity crisis, or about a new opportunity to protect public lands that you’re eager to share with reporters. But getting a reporter’s attention can be challenging, given how inundated they are with pitches (we’ve heard accounts of some reporters receiving over 1,000 pitches in one day!). At the same time, newsrooms across the country are reducing staffing and resources to cover the environment and climate change. Reporters are stretched thin, and simply don’t have the time to read everything in their inbox.
Given these challenges, it’s critical to craft a pitch that stands out. Here are 8 tips for pitching environmental reporters to help get your story noticed.
Research and Personalize
Before sending your pitch, take the time to thoroughly research the reporter(s) you’re reaching out to. Understand their previous work, the topics they’re passionate about, and the type of stories they tend to cover. Tailor your pitch to their interests and expertise, and thank them for the work that they do. A personalized pitch not only shows that you’ve done your homework, but also increases the chances of grabbing a reporter’s attention amidst the sea of pitches they receive.
Lead with the Impact
Environmental reporters are more likely to be interested in a story that has a tangible impact on specific communities and/or the natural world. In your pitch, clearly highlight the potential effects of the issue you’re addressing. Share anecdotes, personal experiences, or real-life examples that help humanize the issue. Whether it’s about a local community affected by pollution or a groundbreaking solution to the climate and biodiversity crises, make sure the impact is front and center in your pitch. This helps reporters see the real-world significance of your story and why it deserves coverage.
Provide Compelling Data
Data and statistics can help add credibility to your pitch. Back up your story with evidence, whether it’s about the scale of a problem, trends over time, or the potential benefits of a solution. Well-researched data not only supports your story’s validity but also provides reporters with valuable information they can incorporate into their coverage. Make sure the data is easy to understand and explained in a straightforward manner – i.e. “30% of residents in X county support federal climate change legislation.”
Showcase A Unique Angle
Given the saturation of environmental stories, finding a unique angle can make all the difference. A reporter is looking for “new news,” so consider what sets your story apart from others on similar topics. Is there an untold aspect, a new perspective, or an innovative solution that hasn’t received much attention? Presenting a fresh angle can intrigue reporters and compel them to explore your story further.
Your pitch should include names, titles, emails, and phone numbers for 1-3 key spokespeople and/or experts on the story. Make sure to include each person’s expertise – i.e. “X can speak to the impacts of this proposal for local Latino residents.” If a reporter wants to pursue coverage, they’ll likely want to interview at least one contact – so make it easier for them and provide this information up front.
If a reporter opens your pitch and sees a five paragraph essay, they’ll certainly move on without reading it! Use bullet points to help organize your pitch and make it easy for a reporter to scan. Email pitches should be no longer than 2-3 paragraphs. Twitter/X direct-messages (see below) should be no longer than a paragraph.
Start with an Email or Twitter DM
The vast majority of environmental reporters we’re in touch with are working remotely and/or using their personal cell phones for work. It can be very challenging to track down a reporter’s cell number. Once your pitch is ready to go, we suggest sending it via email or Twitter/X DM (check their bio to confirm they accept pitches via DM).
Attach Relevant Background Information
Your pitch should be dropped into the body of an email or Twitter/X DM. If you’re sending via email, feel free to attach a background memo, study, or other relevant resources. Just remember a reporter may not open the attachment, so be sure to include any critical information in the pitch itself.
Bonus Tip: Follow Up!
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get an immediate response – your pitch may have just gotten lost in the shuffle. A polite follow-up email and/or DM within a day or two shows your commitment and enthusiasm. Remember that reporters are often juggling multiple deadlines and priorities, so be gracious! Keep your follow-up concise and remind them of the value your story can bring to their readers.
Find a Strategic Partner to Support Your Environmental Communications Efforts
If you’re looking for a communications partner, look no further than FCP! We’re a full service environmental PR firm providing media relations and more to conservation organizations locally and nationally. We’d love to help you craft your next pitch! Drop us a line to get started.