A friend of mine pitched a story to the media. The good news was several local TV stations were interested in covering the event. The unexpected news was several of the TV stations wanted him to reschedule the event so they could air it during their morning shows.
He originally scheduled the story for mid-morning, assuming this is an ideal time. Reporters arrive for their morning editorial meetings and then could head out immediately for this assignment. Nothing about the story made it an obvious fit for the morning shows. The event included a demonstration and required a certain expert to be in attendance. Rescheduling it would not be easy if even possible.
I told him do not try to make sense of something that isn’t always sensible. I joked that if he had scheduled the event for the morning shows, the news stations would’ve requested him to reschedule it for mid-morning. One idea is he could’ve run the story idea by one or two news stations ahead of time and asked them the ideal time to schedule it. But in most situations, the news stations would’ve given him several different answers.
Be flexible when working with the media but do not beat yourself up for being unable to read their minds. I’ve often been in news meetings where the argument to cover a story was the same argument used the previous week not to cover a story. Mandates from news managers on what to cover and how to cover it can change as frequently as the months of the year. Some journalists pride themselves on objectively covering the news. But deciding what stories qualify as news and the ideal times to cover those stories are some of the most subjective concepts on the planet.
People often want scientific formulas for definitive answers. They want metrics and analytics that perfectly define the success of public relations and social media campaigns. They want someone to explain the exact, ideal length of a business video. These are the topics that countless blogs focus on and many of them strongly infer they have the latest and greatest answers. But here’s a fact that many people hate to hear: Some efforts can’t be perfectly measured, determined or logically figured out ahead of time. Sometimes there is no one right answer. Use your experience, common sense and best guess. That might bring you success and then frustration two weeks later. The media are a constantly moving target. Don’t blame yourself when you don’t hit a bull’s-eye.
My friend did not reschedule the event. Almost all the media which originally expressed an interest still showed up.