Expert Q&A: Peter Shankman, founder, Help a Reporter Out (HARO)

Peter Shankman, founder of Help a Reporter Out (HARO) answers questions about the state of media relations today and the company's latest hire, COO Thom Brodeur.

Peter Shankman, founder of Help a Reporter Out (HARO) answers questions about the state of media relations today and the company's latest hire, COO Thom Brodeur.

PRWeek: Media relations has changed dramatically as the media landscape has changed. What are your tips for PR pros looking to pitch to the media?

Peter Shankman: The amount of time a reporter has to read a document has decreased dramatically in the past few years. With the increased workload of the reporter and the ease in which a publicist can get in touch with said reporter, the chance of actually getting a reporter to read something longer than a paragraph when they don't know you is minuscule. The answer is two-fold - write really well, and be dead-on topic. There's no middle ground anymore.

PRWeek: Please describe the current relationship between PR pros and journalists.

Shankman: I personally think it's getting a little better. As sites like HARO continue to level the playing field, people are realizing that they either work with the journalist, or they're simply eliminated. That helps everyone, as journalists get the right information in the right way, sources with real stories get published, and people who just don't get it, over time, will simply cease to matter.

PRWeek: HARO just announced that Thom Brodeur has joined the company as COO, a newly-created position. Why have you added this position?

Shankman: I started HARO as a way to help people. I had no idea it would grow as big as it did. I see the potential of HARO and I'm smart enough to know what I do well, and with what I need help. The COO position is perfect for someone like Thom: someone with knowledge and creative, but great with details.

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