Variety of outlets capture spirit of St. Louis

Though no longer the "Gateway to the West" as it was once billed, St Louis remains a high-profile city with a journalism market that seems to be weathering the current media maelstrom better than many other areas.

Though no longer the "Gateway to the West" as it was once billed, St Louis remains a high-profile city with a journalism market that seems to be weathering the current media maelstrom better than many other areas.

Dave Baldridge, a former assignment manager for the local NBC news affiliate and current corporate branding group VP at Fleishman-Hillard's St. Louis office, says that's especially true when it comes to local broadcast outlets.

"They may have to do more with fewer resources, but it's still a very competitive television market," he says. "The breaking news aspect of the affiliates is very aggressive."

There's also KMOX, long considered one of the country's top news radio operations, which remains influential and approachable on stories tied to local issues.

Even though the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is the dominant newspaper, Julie Gustafson, founder and president of agency Words that Work, stresses that other print opportunities exist, especially across the Mississippi River.

"There are several dailies in southern Illinois, most notably the Belleville News-Democrat and Alton Telegraph, that have the resources to really compete for stories - and they're only 10 to 15 miles from downtown St. Louis," she notes. "So this is more than a one-newspaper market."

Kelly Ferrara, SVP with The Vandiver Group, notes that for a city with a somewhat conservative reputation, St. Louis has a surprising number of alternative media sites.

"We just handled the opening of a building renovation for a client, and instead of doing a traditional release, we brought in bloggers interested in historic preservation, downtown revitalization, and architecture a day early," she says. "All of them produced coverage... which then [was] followed with mainstream press stories."

Despite its relative proximity to Chicago, Ferrara says, St. Louis is large enough to be a destination market for most reporters. "People come here, and they like it, and they don't want to leave - and that includes journalists," she says.

One area where the local media have been a bit lacking is business coverage, despite the fact that St. Louis is home to number of major companies, such as Anheuser-Busch, Enterprise, Emerson, and retail brokerage Edward Jones.

"In the past, you did see a lot of wire stories from Bloomberg and others," Baldridge says, "but the Post-Dispatch has made a commitment to bring in new talent, so we're beginning to see more of a focus on local business."

Pitching... St. Louis

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is inundated with pitches for the news sections, but the paper also has an influential editorial page staff that can be approached with stories for public policy and business clients

The St. Louis American, which caters to the African-American community, has seen both its circulation and reach grow, and is an emerging pitch opportunity

Look to leverage the competition between the Post-Dispatch and St. Louis Business Journal by offering up exclusives to get your client the best placement

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