Perfecting Your Pitch: You Can’t Know Every Reporter

A good friend who also works in the PR business recently asked me how I’ve dealt with the constant churn of reporters in our local Indianapolis media market. (For those tuning in from outside the market, we’ve experienced a lot of turnover and layoffs at the state’s largest paper, and our TV market has been similarly disrupted.)

Like all flacks, I have developed relationships with many of the beat reporters who cover my clients. Unlike all flacks, though, I really like reporters because I used to be one, and I know it’s a tough job made increasingly tougher by shrinking profits and soaring corporate expectations. Because of that past experience, I’ve never been one to leverage a personal friendship to get something covered. It’s just not my style. I’ll pass along tips and story ideas, but I’m not going to call someone up and say, “Hey, we’re pals, and I need a favor.”

I’ve always believed a good pitch will connect no matter who’s up at bat.

Welcome Back, Mass Ave PR

Mass Ave Public Relations Indianapolis Indiana PR Media Training
Mass Ave PR | Founding Principal | Jennifer Wagner

A few months ago, I decided to return to full-time employment as Communications Director for a member of Congress. It was a wonderful experience save for one thing: our two amazing kids who kept guilt-tripping me when I left for the office or had to miss dinner with them on a weekend to attend an event with my boss.

See, the reality of owning your own business is that you work more hours than you do in an office job, but you get to work those hours into the rest of your life.

Back when I had no life, I didn’t mind the nine-to-five grind.

EVENT: “The Ticket” Documentary Film Screening on January 27 in Indy


Join us for the exclusive Indianapolis premiere of the documentary film “The Ticket.” In honor of School Choice Week, the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice and award-winning director Bob Bowden will come together to share this special project and the issues children face while seeking better educational opportunities. Click here to watch the trailer.

IN Forefront: Is Your Profession Trustworthy?

Here’s something fun for your Monday morning that I just posted over on the Indiana Forefront blog (which you should check out if you have any interest in local, state or federal politics):

Gallup released new numbers this morning with respect to the perception of honesty and ethical standards in various professions. How does your job rate? (Warning: Lobbyists, lawyers and elected officials are at the bottom of the list, so this will not be a Monday morning pick-me-up for many readers of this site.)

Click here to read the full report from Gallup.

Announcing the 2014 Indiana Gridiron Dinner

We’ve been honored for the past two years to be part of the planning process for the Indiana Gridiron Dinner, a newly reprised event that makes fun of anyone and everyone in state politics. The proceeds benefit the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute, the state’s only independent source of continuing research into the impact of state taxing and spending policies in Indiana.

The 2014 dinner will be held February 25 at the Indiana Roof, and you can buy your tickets and tables online here.

This year’s theme?

2014 Gridiron save the date v2

What We Can All Learn From School Fundraisers

Last week, our kindergartener brought home a fundraising packet and begged me to take a look through the catalog of items to help the school raise money for field trips.

So I did. And I came to the conclusion that it was a catalog filled with things I would never buy. (I don’t need a coffee mug to tell the world I have a sassy attitude. And I’m not going to pay $18.50 for a candle I can buy at Kroger for $5.)

But the fundraising program does a great job with peer pressure, rewarding the kids with cheap charm necklaces for every five items they sell.

Because Who Doesn’t Love A Good Local News Fight?

If you follow local news like someone who works in local PR, you got a kick out of this story in today’s Indianapolis Business Journal.

War has erupted in the heavens between the TV news angels, and we’re not talking about news choppers jockeying for position above a warehouse fire.

WXIN-TV Channel 59 has plastered the likeness of its news anchor Angela Ganote high atop local billboards sporting three, incendiary words:


Every couch potato knows Fox59 is poking fun at WTHR-TV Channel 13’s Angela Buchman. The popular weather prognosticator returned to the air early this month following a yearlong noncompete period from her contract with former employer WISH-TV Channel 8.

fox59 ganote buchman 15col Fox59’s billboard ads promote anchor Angela Ganote while poking fun at WTHR’s Angela Buchman. (Image courtesy Fox59)
The ad is an uncharacteristic provocation in the normally milquetoast world of local TV news. Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!

And if you’re a Ron Burgundy fan like yours truly, it almost immediately made you think of this epic scene:

You’re welcome.

IBJ Forefront: “Take the opportunity to live elsewhere”

Here’s my most recent piece for the monthly Forefront section of Indianapolis Business Journal:

I never imagined I’d be writing this column, and I want to preface it with a blanket statement that will never change: I’m a proud Hoosier, and I love my hometown of Indianapolis.

That said, I’ve become a big proponent of people leaving Indiana to explore career opportunities elsewhere.

Here’s why: I think many of them will come back, and they’ll bring amazing experiences and ideas with them when they do.

Almost a decade ago, in what could be described as a contentious conversation, my now-sister-in-law told me I hadn’t really seen the world because I’d never lived anywhere other than Indiana.

Not true, I countered, listing my experience living abroad in college and dozens of places I’d visited.

No, she said, not college or travel. Actually living as a grown-up in a place other than your home state.

As you can imagine, I took it personally, thought she was insulting Hoosiers. She might have been, but she also was right.