Steve Yoder Explains How to Be a Good Wall Street Journal Source

Last Updated Apr 1, 2008 9:58 AM EDT

I had the pleasure of serving on a PRSA Silicon Valley Media Training panel last Friday with Steve Yoder, San Francisco bureau chief of the The Wall Street Journal. Steve was very generous with his time and shared many tips and strategies for doing a better job working with the Journal.

Following are Steve's suggestions for increasing your success in pitching The Wall Street Journal. Needless to say, his tips apply to working with any professional journalists.

  1. Benchmark your news: Before you pitch a story, read the paper and see how similar stories are handled.yoder.jpg For instance, let's say you are announcing a merger between two privately owned companies. How does the Journal cover such stories?
  2. Put it in context: the Journal, and really any media, wants to present news in a larger context. It's the very rare story that is a narrow profile of your company or product. So figure out the larger context for the story, for example, how it affects consumers or businesses.
  3. Pitch your story, but keep it brief: reporters are being deluged with information. Keep your pitch brief and to-the-point, preferably by email.
  4. Be ready to give up control: What Steve means here is that once you've pitched your story and a reporter is working on it, they may take it in a different direction than you intended, and may want more information and access to executives than you planned. Of course, the Journal wants as much information and access as possible. But this isn't a deposition -- it's up to you how much you want to divulge. But his point is that if you try to manage the information flow too narrowly, you may kill the Journal's interest in doing the story.
  5. Be persistent: by this, Steve doesn't mean calling and emailing every day to ask if the Journal is going to do a story. What he does mean is that it's OK to follow-up with more information or new information that might tip the scales in your favor.
Tomorrow, I'll share Steve's Top Nine Reasons Why Journalists Need PR People.
  • Jon Greer

    Jon Greer has been analyzing media and PR for more than 25 years. He's been a journalist and a PR executive, and has been a featured speaker for many years at the Bulldog Reporter Media Relations Summit, and served as Bulldog's Editorial Director for their PR University series of weekly how-to audio conferences.

    Jon provides PR services including media relations and freelance writing to clients including start-ups, law firms, corporations, investment banks and venture capital firms. In addition, Jon provides spokesperson training. Learn more about Jon's training programs at The Media Bridge.