How long do we wait to pitch?

As a public relations student, the recent developments in world news have had a bit of a different effect on me. I must admit, it’s somewhat selfish, but I like public relations practitioners everywhere, have to wonder what effects Osama’s death will have on our advocacy for our clients.

In my public relations capstone class, our professor raised the question – As a PR professional, how long do you wait to pitch the media after a major event like Osama Bin Laden’s death?

The answer’s in class varied from, “At least a week,” to “You don’t need to,”. The most interesting responses came from those who believe it really does depends on what kind of media you’re pitching to.

Are you pitching to CNN or a local paper’s style section writer? Who you’re pitching to can make all the difference.

One of my favorite bloggers, Heather Whaling of prTini, blogged and hosted a Twitter chat based around this question last week. PRDaily posted that PR pros should wait at least a week before doing ANY pitching. But is this really necessary?

In the Twitter chat,  some said don’t pitch, but there were other good points as well:

  1. You have to understand who you’re pitching to. If that person is involved in breaking news, you shouldn’t bother.
  2. Not all news is front page news.
  3. Do you have a deadline?
  4. The news cycle is faster than ever.
  5. Why would it be inappropriate to pitch a smaller paper reporter the next day?
I agree with these points. I think pitching to the media soon after a major event isn’t necessarily a lost cause. What do you think?
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