I have a confession.
Even though I’m “in” marketing. And even though some of my proverbially best friends are in PR. And even though my ex’s sister, who has been a practising journalist for two decades, is the most honest and morally fibrous person I have ever met (sometimes unfortunately). I must confess, I’m lazy. I still resort to stereotypes when I’m thinking about journalists. It’s easy isn’t it? Lawyers, car salesmen, journalists; it’s easy to generalize and to forget that they are real people with a context, a purpose and needs of their own.
I was jolted awake when I attended the 2014 workshop called How to Get Your Story Told, presented by the San Diego chapter of the Association of Black Journalists. The workshop was targeted towards non-profit organizations trying to get coverage from local media. As a member of the outreach team for my non-profit volunteer work, I wanted to get into the nitty gritty of how to engage with the media over perpetual problems that need support, like cash, awareness and other resources. I was also hoping to supplement my capabilities when working with our non-profit clients here at Sauté.
I think I must have expected a set of technical tips for managing barriers, overcoming obstacles and grasping attention. A poker playbook from those in the know. It was surprisingly refreshing to have my assumptions immediately blown away. Instead we were encouraged to draw on simple logic and empathy. In the end, what works is not a set of mechanical tricks, but rather considering each of the other players compassionately that can lead to the greatest successes in PR. I was not expecting to come away feeling so informed and inspired. And I certainly wasn’t expecting the advice “just be nice” to hit me like some kind of epiphany. And these were really nice people.