A local angle to national/international news = a successful placement

Regardless of your political affiliation, the biggest story in the national news right now is the efforts by Democrats to impeach Pres. Trump. My hometown newspaper, The Oregonian (based in Portland, Ore.) published a story in its edition today that is an example of one of the proven strategies I will teach in my News Writing 101 workshop for communication professionals Oct. 17 in Portland and Oct. 24 in Salem.

The story focused on a Portland hotel developer who is now serving as the U.S. ambassador to the European Union. His interactions with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky have landed him in the middle of the scandal that has led to the impeachment effort.

The Oregonian story was quite large and focused on the local Portland angle. Why? Because local news media are always interested in national and international stories that have a connection to their coverage area. Being aware of that can sometimes lead to successful media placements.

I can think of many such instances where I’ve been either able to place stories in my local news media or saw others who had done so because we were able to establish a connection between our news and a national or international story. One obvious example is natural disasters.

If a major disaster hits anywhere in the world and your company decides quickly to make a major donation to the relief efforts, you stand a good chance of placing a story in your local news media, which will be seeking a local connection to the disaster (I emphasize the word “quickly” because many companies will probably step up with similar donations. The trick is being among the first to announce your gift.)

It’s thus imperative that you keep abreast of the national and international news. Determine if your organization — or any of its employees — have a connection to the breaking story. Chances are your local news media will jump at your pitch if you can demonstrate the local angle.

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