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Church PR: A portrait of a pitch

nun on phone
A Portrait of a Pitch part 1: Short or long-term perspective?
By Daniel Torchia
@dantorchia
Listen to this whole Media Ministry Minutes segment on this week’s SLHour.

Pitching a story to media can be a daunting task – especially if you feel you’re story angle or topic is way off the ‘beat’ or radar of the media in question. Pitching can be, indeed, awkward. But it should not remain that way. The change comes when one considers the underlying significance and important role of a pitch. And the change can mean the difference between fear and confidence (in the pitcher), or poor and excellent relationships (between the media and the pitcher and his/her organization).

If a pitch is very rigid or too “one way”– i.e.: focused only your very specific story, and not much else – then it is destined to fall short of its full potential and will most certainly provide a series of ensuing difficulties for you and your organization. If, however, you are more open to true dialogue, the pitch can be a sure path toward deep-mutual discovery, harmony and long-term benefit.

Short or long-term outreach?
The difference lies in the full intention of the outreach. Has the outreach been orchestrated solely for the coverage of a specific announcement or finite message with little openness for anything beyond that? Or are you and your organization sincerely interested in becoming a trusted partner in the news-making business, knowing that this will yield immeasurable medium or long-term benefit? If the latter is true, then you should be more than happy to entertain story angles that are not part of your immediate campaign (ie: you will be able to address any topic of interest to the media). It also helps, of course, if you and your organization can commit – sincerely – to ongoing communications with media – versus merely waiting for the next publicity blitz or need. That means embracing requests from media in between campaigns and, not to be neglected, communicating most (if not all) noteworthy organizational developments to media through the use of a newsroom or newswire. As you’ve guessed it: you cannot just open and shut the lines of communications as you would a bathroom or kitchen faucet – at least without repercussions. This implies, then, a consistent and transparent approach to organizational communications and media relations. It also requires a bit more time, energy and resources. But it makes all the difference in the world

In my experience, media and other stakeholders (even employees or donors) can sense a one-way communication campaign from a mile away! Having a short-term, myopic and inflexible approach to a pitch is usually indicative of a manipulative or at the very least self-serving attitude toward PR – and relationships. It is not fertile soil for a pitch and, due to its flawed approach, places a lot of pressure on the PR professional, yielding weaker results along the way as well.

Here are some practical tips for your next pitch:
• Know your top two-three key messages, but be prepared to ask the media: “what do you care about?” or “How might I help you broach this topic to your readers/listeners?”
• Know the underlying trends that may run through your topic or topics. For example, if you’re speaking about abortion, brush up on the recent medical discoveries that further illustrate the life of the unborn. Knowing facts and numbers is just as critical.
• Send the pitch via email and follow up by phone – but do your homework before making the call (know the media’s normal subjects of interest, style of writing/coverage etc.)
• Know when to give up. But try again at the next earliest opportunity.
• Continue to monitor the news and your targeted media; see what they cover and try to weave yourself into the conversation.
• Stay the course, pace yourself and never burn a bridge.

Listen to this week’s segment:

Stay tuned for A Portrait of a Pitch part 2: Story angles and the benefits of leaving a message


Photo credit: Sister Anji Fan, a native of China and a member of the Sisters of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods, Ind., speaks on the phone.(CNS photo/Sean Gallagher, The Criterion) (Aug. 1, 2009)

Video of the Week – Caritas Campaign from Panama

The people of Caritas Panama have taken up this year’s END HUNGER campaign to another level with this beautiful and moving song, LEVANTO MI VOZ POR QUIEN NO TIENE PAN (I raise my voice for those who have no bread)

Written and composed by Maríaestelí Rios
Production: Carlos Samaniego and En La Roca
Performed by various Panamanian Catholic singers/artists: Angélica Quintero (Ecos del Silencio), Evaristo Gonzalez (Ministerio de Música Ágape / ExVive la Música TVN), Annita Castillo (San Juan Apóstol Parish, Brisas del Golf), Niudska Beitía (Ministerio de Musica Nabí), Oliver Portillo ( Distynto) and Maríaestelí Ríos (En La Roca)

Learn more about Caritas Panama on their website or follow them on Twitter.

Michael James Mette’s Changed By You

Official Music Video for “Changed By You”
© 2013 Michael James Mette

Get a FREE 3 song preview of “Bring Forth the Light” at http://eepurl.com/E39hD

LYRICS
I love your hand in mine. I love the way you say it’s gonna be all right.
You always were the one, since we were young when you stole my heart.

Everything I hold dear.
Everything that I hold dear.
Everything I hold dear is changed by you.

You elevate my soul, give me a reason when I don’t even care.
The truth is you see through my lies, give me courage to let down the world.

Everything I hold dear.
Everything that I hold dear.
Everything I hold dear is changed by you.

Everything I hold dear. Everything I hold dear.
Everything I hold dear, Everything that I hold dear.
Everything I hold dear is changed by you.
Is changed by you.
Is changed by you.

Pakistani Christian woman condemned to death

Mater Eucharistae
Asia Bibi is a Pakistani Christian woman who was condemned to death under the country’s blasphemy law. This week on the SLHOUR, Deacon Pedro speaks with Anne-Isabelle Tollet, author of Blasphemy: A Memoir: Sentenced to Death Over a Cup of Water; Mark Matthews tells us what good in Hollywood and the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist have a chart-topping album, Mater Eucharistae.

Email us your comments

Archbishop Prendergast and other favourite interviews

Curtis Stephan
This week, on a special edition of the SLHour we learn about the Dominican Sisters Mary Mother of the Eucharist on the American Bible Challenge Game Show and Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa tells us about his book God’s Word on Sunday. Also we meet singer/songwriters Michael James Mette and Curtis Stephan.

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Risk It All by Lori Malvey & Richard Stephens

Risk it all
You’re romantic
but I’ve seen it get used
for selfish purposes
Don’t be tragic
I’m just talking straight to you

Such a thin thread holds us all together, it seems
So if you’re wondering exactly what to say…

Risk it all put it on the line
Tell the truth while being kind
You did what you had to do
So You can rest – you passed the test

Risk it all put it on the line
Tell the truth while being kind
Then the river’s course you’ll see
You will know it was meant to be

Some days
You don’t know who you are
But maybe you know what you’re not
and that’s a lot

Every door that opens
needs the right key
Every heart that follows love is free

Risk it all put it on the line
Tell the truth while being kind
Then you’ll grow in love, you’ll see
You can rest, you passed the test

Risk it all put it on the line
Tell the truth while being kind
Then the river’s course you’ll see
You will know it was meant to be

Hope for the moment
Hope for the year
Full moon is coming
Harvest is here

Risk it all put it on the line
Tell the truth while being kind
Then you’ll grow in love you’ll see
You will be what you’re meant to be

Risk it all put it on the line
Tell the truth while being kind
Then the river’s course you’ll see
You will know and you’ll be free
Oh, You’ll be free
You’ll be free
You’ll be free

Visit Lori Malvey to find out more.
Video by Marek Malkowski

Fr. Robert Galea’s What do you Say

A wonderful video of the great pro-life song by Fr. Robert Galea.

Easter celebrations continue on the SLHOUR

Easter
This week we continue to celebrate Easter, with a re-broadcast of last year’s Easter special 2012: Kris tells us about Holy Week and Easter at the Vatican, Cheridan reminds us why we should attend the International Eucharistic Congress in Ireland (in June 2012) and Andrew introduces us to an Easter Saint. Also, Danny Torchia has an Easter media relations suggestion, Sr. Marie-Paul Curley has her top-ten Easter films, Mark Matthews tells us what’s Easter-good in Hollywood and Gillian Kantor learns an Easter lesson from her kids. We also listen to music by Fr. Robert Galea, Joe Zambon and Audrey Assad.

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Music video of the week: Fr. Stan’s Everybody Got 2 Suffer


This is the official music video for “Everybody Got 2 Suffer” by Fr. Stan Fortuna, one of the first productions by Grassroots Films.

Video of the week: Critical Mass’ Dorian Gray


A video from the Catholic band, Critical Mass. Dorian Gray is used as a metaphor for what happens to all of us when we dabble in porn. We may look fine on the outside but we are rotting on the inside.