Time magazine’s editor: How to pitch reporters

Harry McCracken, the magazine’s editor-at-large, discusses good and bad pitches in a recent podcast. PR pros, turn your listening ears on.

A few weeks ago Harry McCracken started a project on his Facebook page where he published and exposed laughably bad pitches. He pasted a snippet and made a silly or snarky comment about how off target or inappropriate the pitch was.

While not eager to expose or ridicule the author, the purpose of the exercise was to get a few laughs, commentary, and hopefully guide others through better pitching. After all, he gets plenty of good pitches and he doesn’t want people to stop pitching him.

He sat down to talk about what should—and shouldn’t—be in a pitch for an episode of my Hacking Media Production podcast. Here are the highlights:

What doesn’t work

1. Launch into industry background: Poor pitches never start “My client, X Corporation is about to announce Y on date Z.” They start with giving a background of the issue, or try to describe a trend. Or they suggest a topic roundup and other companies McCracken should write about.

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