When a cold phone pitch is OK

When is a journalist on deadline? Always. That’s why phoning in a new story idea out of the blue is largely frowned upon. In certain cases, it’s OK, though. Here are the exceptions to the rule.

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Ask any journalist about their preferred channels for receiving pitches, and for most, “phone call” will be at the very bottom of the list.

It’s not that we don’t use our phones; we have no problem scheduling phone interviews or taking a quick call to follow up on an email thread. But just about every reporter I know—myself included—silently (or not so silently) curses the poor PR rep who interrupts their day with a cold phone pitch.

Many of us take to Twitter to lament the phone pitches we receive, including a few in this excellent tweet roundup by Michelle Garrett.

Journalist and digital media expert Elizabeth Spiers said it best: Phone pitches are “intrusive, disruptive to existing work; they suck up more time, and they’re horribly inefficient.”

Once a journalist has gotten into writing mode, the slightest distraction can throw off their groove. What could be more irritating than someone tacitly demanding that you stop what you’re doing, right now, to listen to a pitch you probably can’t even use?

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