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Video: Longtime TV News Director Scott Libin Shares Game-Changing Secrets to Getting Your PR Clients on TV

Scott Libin has spent more than 25 years in the TV News business.

Scott Libin spent nearly three decades as TV News Reporter, Producer, Anchor and News Director. I can’t think of a better expert when it comes to finding out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to getting TV News coverage for your company/client.

Scott and I had a great discussion this week (video below), and I was really impressed with his honesty and candor when it came to getting inside the head of a typical TV Reporter/Producer. He shared some great insights and advice on what will (and will NOT) work when it comes to getting the TV News coverage your company/client wants.

I was also fascinated/excited about his take on whether or not PR people should use the controversial strategy of “reporting on the reporter” during interviews. This is where you (the interview’s subject) capture the entire exchange with the reporter on video, and then (if you need to) put out a copy of the video online as a defense/explanation for a quote you felt was taken out of context, bias demonstrated by the reporter, etc. (Skip ahead to the 8:25 mark of the video to hear this exchange.)

Social Media and the ability to easily capture and share video online has completely changed the TV News business. Think about the strength and leverage you or your client now has when agreeing to sit down for a potentially controversial/difficult interview! In the past, you were at the mercy of the TV Reporter to represent a fair and balanced report on air. Now, you can film and then release your own record of the conversation to prove to your core stakeholders/audience/critics/etc. that what you said was taken out of context or misrepresented.

Game-changing stuff, and I’m glad guys like Scott Libin are here to help PR pros and journalists alike sort through it all!

Here’s our discussion:

QUESTION: Would you advise a PR client to use this “report on the reporter” technique? Why or why not? And if you’re a journalist, would you refuse to conduct an interview if the subject told you he or she was going to tape the conversation and possibly release it later online?

How to pitch TV reporters and news directors (and actually succeed)

Scott Libin is arguably one of the most talented and experienced TV News Directors in the United States. He currently works as a Consultant and Project Manager at Internet Broadcasting here in St. Paul.

He has more than 25 years of experience in the TV news business and is well-respected across the country, so when he agreed to have lunch the other day I was thrilled at the opportunity.

Our conversation brought up several great reminders, along with some new insights. Some highlights/reminders/takeaways for myself and other PR professionals:

  • In TV, everything is dependent upon what else is happening that day. Scheduling your event on a day when little to nothing else major is going on in your market is critical.
  • Help the reporter/producer visualize what the segment would look like. Do the journalist’s job for him. A great pitch covers everything a TV producer needs – the visual, the news hook, location, timing, logistics, etc.
  • It might seem antiquated to some, but e-mail pitches are still preferable in many instances. They allow an assignment editor to forward all the relevant information easily to the proper person, along with attaching a note or instructions regarding the story idea. E-mail is also a nice way to allow a news manager or assignment editor to take a quick look at your story without being tied up/hassled as a PR person stammers through a pitch verbally, chewing up valuable seconds/minutes that the editor/manager doesn’t have.
It’s rare for a PR professional to get an hour of undivided attention and counsel from a TV news expert like Scott. And best of all, I got all this for the price of a Turkey Club Wrap! ;) Scott Libin is as gracious, talented and experienced as they come, and I’m grateful to count him among my professional contacts these days. Look him up on LinkedIn if you get the chance!
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