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N.Y. radio news director shares experience with students
Quinnipiac was graced with an inside look of what a public relations professional should do when trying to get their clients in the headlines.
Ben Mevorach, news director for 1010 WINS spoke on Feb. 24 about what steps and tactics public relations (PR) teams should utilize when presenting pitches to different news outlets.
The event was hosted by the Southern Connecticut Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). While the program was open to the entire student body, the audience consisted mostly of PRSA members.
“I thought Mevorach was a wonderful speaker and it’s apparent how he got so far in his industry,” Cathy Lacy, junior broadcast-journalism major, said,
Mevorach says that 1010 WINS sets themselves apart in the radio news market in New York by employing a more direct coverage for the listener. “We don’t speak at the listener – we speak to the listener,” Mevorach said.
He feels that by giving the listeners the lead story quickly, they will keep tuning in to the station.
One tip that Mevorach offered to public relations professionals was to use the Associated Press day book. “It is an ideal place to list your news conferences and events because almost every news room uses Associated Press,” he said.
He suggested that PR people develop relationships with individual reporters as opposed to assignment editors. “News desks go through hundreds of press releases a day, while reporters only go through about 10,” Mevorach said. Forming meaningful relationships with reporters increases the likelihood of getting your client coverage.
Assignment editors look for “the news hook” of a story and its “emotion and identity.” Both, Mevorach said, are essential and make the story appealing to listeners. This is what ultimately gets your client on-air or in the headlines.
Mevorach also said “not to let the pictures fool you” in response to radio broadcast versus television broadcast. He says that reporting for radio is far more challenging than television.
“[In] radio you have to write for the pictures, while television lends itself to more ad-libbing,” Mevorach said.
Mevorach has received many awards for his work in the news industry both statewide and on the national level. The Associated Press recognized him for excellence in individual reporting.
He has also received three Edward R. Murrow awards. The first award was for his coverage of the TWA flight 800 crash in 1998. The 1010 WINS coverage of the 9/11 attacks in 2001 and Mevorach’s coverage of the 2004 war in Iraq brought in the next two awards. The Edward R. Murrow award is the industry’s highest honor.
When faced with the question of political bias in the 1010 WINS newsroom, Mevorach responded by saying that “at 1010 WINS you will find half the room is Bush supporters and all you have to do is turn your head to see Kerry on the other side.” Although bias is hard to avoid in any news outlet, Mevorach feels that 1010 WINS does it utmost to deliver the facts as they are without any spin.
Mevorach has three words of advice for students interested in pursuing a job in the news industry: “internships, internships, internships.” He said the industry gets easier to navigate with the more people you know.
Sandy St.Pierre, head of the Southern Connecticut chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, will hold two more PRSA programs at Quinnipiac. The next one is a half day media training session with Kenn Venit on March 6. On April 7, New Haven’s AP news Bureau Chief Matt Apuzoo will be speak with students and faculty.