Archive for July 2010

The Scoop on PRSA-MD’s “The New Media Shakedown” Panel July 15

July 26, 2010

The following is an article that was written by Erika Murray, Immediate Past-President of PRSA-MD (2008-2009), that appeared in the July 26 edition of our eNewsletter, WebNotes.

If you missed our “Media Shakedown” program on July 15, then you missed valuable face-to-face networking time with some of the area’s top journalists and reporters. PRSA-MD was honored to host a diverse media panel, which included:

  • Gary Haber, reporter for the Baltimore Business Journal;
  • Kai Jackson, television news anchor and reporter for WJZ News;
  • Len Lazarick, editor and publisher of;
  • Julie Scharper, reporter for The Baltimore Sun; and
  • Ryan Sharrow, web editor for the Baltimore Business Journal.

The panel confirmed that a lot of tried and true public relations tactics and strategies should still be used today, such as researching a reporter and reading his or her articles before you pitch and not promising an exclusive when it isn’t. Deadlines are still king, no matter the media. And every person on the panel remarked that they do indeed pick up the phone and appreciated it when PR folks took the time to call.

Top three take-aways:

  1. The Perfect Pitch:  Julie Scharper shared that when she was recently pitched a story, she agreed to meet the PR professional in person to get additional information. Well that PR professional not only showed up with his/her source, but also brought additional sources with collaborative information. A tour was arranged so Julie could experience the information first hand and this opportunity led to the presence of a Baltimore Sun photographer, which allowed for art work to accompany her article. This PR pro gave the reporter everything she needed to file a compelling story with little effort. The perfect case study on how to perfectly pitch!
  2. Face-to-Face:  We all know busy executives. They can barely make time for their own PR representatives, much less an outside reporter, but as Gary Haber commented, “coming to the office to conduct an interview is much nicer and can lead to extended discussions, provided both parties have the time.” In an office setting, a reporter is able to see recent awards, possible degrees and photos of favorite vacation destinations. This gives the reporter insight into the person vs. the job that the person holds.  So yes, a reporter can get his/her questions answered via a phone interview, which tends to be the norm nowadays, but by visiting the person in the office all parties can get so much – a chance to build rapport.
  3. Know Your Angles:  The timeline and media diversity of last week’s panel was very interesting. We featured two print publications – one daily and one weekly, along with a television station and online publication. Each of these vehicles has different news cycles, deadlines and criteria. Therefore, fully flush out all the angles of your story before you pitch. Some angles may be evergreen and will be picked up by a news outlet at another time. Case in point: WJZ News recently covered the tragic recovery of a sewage worker who had fallen into a trench. The next day, Kai Jackson did a story on the firemen, who specialize in those types of rescues. It’s important to peel back the layers of your pitch to discover the various media angles and opportunities.

If you were unable to attend “The New Media Shakedown,” hopefully these take-aways and tidbits are helpful. As always, it is better getting the information first hand! Thank you to all of our media panel participants and attendees for making the “Media Shakedown” a success.

If you were able to attend, what did you think of the program? If you were unable to attend, what are your thoughts, comments, or tips on how the media and PR pros can work together in today’s environement of new tools?    Happy Pitching!

PRSA-MD Welcomes Disney Institute to Baltimore on August 11, 2010

July 6, 2010

It doesn’t take any training to recognize that the world’s economy has taken a significant downturn. It does take effective and proven professional development training to guide impacted organizations back to the summit.

A one-day local workshop, Disney’s Approach to Business Excellence program is a rare and affordable opportunity to learn best business practices from Disney insiders, and discover ways to easily and immediately adapt and apply those best practices to pick up the pace in these slow economic times.

Organizations from across the nation and around the world have learned proven philosophies, adapted critical lessons, and implemented effective processes to reap the rewards of improvements in leadership, management, service, and brand loyalty.

Professional development doesn’t cost—it pays. It pays by creating a framework of focused energy in a vacuum of uncertainty. It pays by helping an organization gain share in a slow economy. It pays because it has been proven to strengthen employee morale and retention, which will be critical to emerge from tough times.

IMPORTANT: Please use the Public Relations Society of America promotional code PRSAMNW to receive $50 OFF PER GUEST when registering. Additional group discounts are available.


No prerequisite training required.

Congratulations 2010 Best in MD Awards Winners: Your Hard Work Has Paid Off

July 6, 2010

This year, the 2010 Best in MD Awards was held as a luncheon as part of the 2010 Chessie Awards.  There were many excellent entries, but the entries from the awards winners truly stood out from the pack.  They deserve all the accolades they received, and we again heartily congratulate all of the winners.  Your hard work has paid off! 

Here are the highlights of the afternoon: 

2010 Best in Show
Maryland Lottery for American Classics 

2010 Best Representation Theme Award
Crosby Marketing For PANDORA’s Introduction

2010 Lifetime Achievement Award
Gene Bracken

2010 New Professional Award
Bridget Forney 

We also have a complete listing of 2010 Best in MD Awards winners on

It Was a Good Ride…

July 6, 2010

We had an exciting time this year at the 2010 Chessie Conference #chessie10.  This year’s theme was 2010: Launching a New Decade of Excellence.  We had excellent speakers this year who willingly shared their insights into some of the most pressing and relevant topics in PR today.  

We’d like to thank all our speakers for dedicating their time and expertise for our collective benefit for one day.  We’d also like to thank our morning keynote speaker, technology entrepreneur Dave Troy, as well as our luncheon keynote speaker, Lisa A Shenkle, President of Verb! Communications.  They both gave very enlightening presentations on their creative efforts to publicize the City of Baltimore and make the case for doing business here. 

During the event, Stockfield Photography took lots of photos while we were learning, sharing, and having fun at the happy hour.  If you’d like to order high res versions, you can contact him directly

Didn’t take copious notes during the conference?  The 2010 Chessie session handouts are still available for you to view on our website.