Minicast: How To Operate Like a Newsroom

Minicast: How To Operate Like a Newsroom

Taking your own photos and videos, how to get those assets to the press and when to hire a pro

First, a caveat, if you can bring a professional photographer, do it! If you are good at taking photos and videos, skip to the parts about how to submit them or what makes for a good photo opp.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Could we be focusing on the wrong thing with all this text? Would you rather have a big picture on the cover/homepage of the New York Times or an article inside? We want both, of course, but the photo is what gets more attention from our audience!

If you are as uncomfortable as Amy, a self-admitted terrible photographer, with taking photos and videos, don’t be. We have had photos and even iPhone videos, taken by this terrible photographer, run on TV.

Of course, you still would rather have the media come (you are more likely to get the story to run), but what if they don’t? You have to fill the role of the reporter even more. Let’s call it HARO, Help a Reporter Out…maybe that’s already taken.

Operating Like a Newsroom

If the news won’t come, serve as an extension of their newsroom by:


Taking & Submitting Your Own Photos & Videos


Photo Tips

Taking photos on your smartphone is easy. Taking really good photos is not. Follow a few basic tips and you will be getting pictures that are good enough to share with the media. Here is a list of what to look out for:

  • Be aware of your lighting. If you are outside, know where the sun is and how that will affect your shots. If you are inside, try to have natural light come in by being by big windows or you may need to supplement.
  • Shoot horizontally (turn your phone sideways).
  • Zoom the old fashion way. Meaning do not pitch and squeeze to zoom in on your screen. Walk closer to your subject to zoom in. If that is not possible, you should make sure you are taking high-resolution photos (see next tip) and crop after.
  • Use the “HDR” setting for high-resolution photos.
  • Use the “exposure lock” feature. Amy mentions in the podcast that she doesn’t know what this is and doesn’t use it. Simply hold your finger on your screen for what you want to stay focused on so the camera doesn’t zoom in/out on its own and lose focus on what you are capturing.
  • Turn the “Live” feature (for iPhones) off.
  • Most important rule: there are no rules, as Amy says,

“Take the damn photo!”

Other general (non-technical tips):

  • Action shots are typically better than smiling faces.
  • If you can get a company logo (perhaps on a t-shirt or a banner in the background), that’s great.
  • No Selfies!


Video Tips

Tips for taking videos with a smartphone are basically the same as photos, with a few added suggestions:

  • Use a tripod (or improvise something to keep your phone steady) if you can.
  • If you are capturing audio, use a microphone, lavalier mics are great for interviews and speeches.

See Tips for Creating iPhone Videos for more details or watch this how-to video:

When & How to Submit Photos/Videos

Here are guidelines about when and how to submit your assets:

When to Submit


Submit photos and videos right away to TV, as soon as you can. News gets old really fast and TV typically has a 4 – 5 p.m. air-time, meaning you want to submit by 2 p.m. at the latest. So, if you can, hold your event/photo opp early in the day to give you time to submit to TV.

  • If it’s a weekday and your news didn’t run the day the news occurred you have a lower chance of it running the next day.
  • But if the news occurs on a Friday and they didn’t run it you have a higher chance of them running it over the weekend.
  • Follow up/resend & call over the weekend.
  • No means no!


It is still best to send the day of, but not as imperative. You can be a little less aggressive and send later that day or the next.


How to Submit

  • Upload videos & photos into Dropbox or a shared Google Drive and send links that are clearly labeled and accessable by the media, meaning make sure they can view and download.
  • Don’t overload them with too many junky photos.
  • Attach photos if you only have a few that are small. Emails with large attachments are often blocked and more likely to go into spam folder.


Photo Resolution

Pixels are more important than file size, however:

  • A photo that is 500KB (.5MB) is usually big enough (unless for magazines or billboards).
  • 3000 pixels wide is probably good enough for any outlet.
  • By default, most iPhones will take an image at 72 DPI.


Photo Opp Ideas

When Amy talks about using events a lot for getting photos and videos for press coverage, it does not have to be what you’d traditionally call an event. Any time something is happening that is worthy of a photo or video opp, that’s an event.

If you don’t have a cartload of crazy clowns moving into town to promote your thing, you may have to get a little more creative. Here are some ideas that provide good photo opps:

  • Groundbreaking for new construction
  • Ribbon cutting for new office/location +
  • Oversized check presentation +
  • Public art unveiling
  • Art installation
  • Exhibitors moving into a tradeshow
  • Special performance for children (remember you need a photo release if you are taking photos/videos of kids)
  • The measuring of a race course
  • Large scale event set up/move-in
  • New building/structure tours
  • Moving days for notable organizations
  • Volunteering or doing something active in the community
  • The event itself (along with or instead of a pre-event photo opp)—don’t forget the event you’ve been hired to promote is a photo opp in and of itself
  • Large-scale donation of food, clothing or other physical item drop off
  • Any other thing that you can make visual or active

+ Add more to it: incorporate other important things. Talking heads—such as politicians, VIP, donors—talking about important things are always good but visually thin. What can your photo opp players literally DO during their 20 minutes of fame?


When to Bring in the Professionals

While we have explained how easy it is for anyone to take photos and videos for the media, there are certain times you really should call a professional photographer/videographer.

  • Products – always use a pro for product shots.
  • Big Events/Fundraisers – many large events and fundraisers will already have a hired a pro, be their friend, get their photos, give credit.
  • Reoccurring Events/Activities – do you do the same type of volunteering every year? Hire a photographer at least one year to get really good photos you can reuse.


Photo Captions: A Press Release in a Sentence or Two

Photo captions are like mini press releases that can get you additional exposure and recognition. Follow these tips when sending to the press:

  • List who’s in the photo from left-to-right.
  • Include job titles only if they are very important or you don’t have much else to say about the organization.
  • Add a sentence that incorporates the results of what was happening in the photo if possible. X pounds of garbage collected; X dollars raised; or new office opened in X community.

With these tips and a little practice, you will be operating like your own newsroom in no time!

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

PR Talk is sponsored by monday

In such a fast-paced, multi-faceted work environment, it can be tough to stay on top of everything. monday is the collaboration tool trusted by businesses of all kinds to help cut down the clutter and streamline productivity. Learn more at and signup for a free trial. You’ll see in no time why so many teams around the world are choosing monday for their project management needs.

PR Talk listeners can use the coupon code BetterExecute for a 15% discount.

Again! Veracity is a Top Public Relations Firm in Portland in 2018

Again! Veracity is a Top Public Relations Firm in Portland in 2018

We are humbled to announce that Veracity has again been recognized as one of the top public relations firms in Portland! This distinction comes courtesy of Clutch, a B2B rating and review service. Clutch uses in-depth market research and client interviews to gauge the caliber of services offered by firms to help businesses make informed buying and hiring decisions. After extensive research on the leading PR firms in Portland and interviews with their clients, Veracity was ranked second overall with a perfect 5 out of 5 rating.

Veracity has also been recognized as one of the top 20 internet marketing companies in Portland by Clutch’s sister-site, The Manifest. The Manifest helps firms identify their business challenges and arms them with knowledge, insight, and potential solutions by highlighting outstanding service providers in their area.

Accolades and industry recognition are always appreciated – who doesn’t enjoy being told they’re doing a good job? But that’s not why we constantly push ourselves to provide excellent service; we do it because our clients’ satisfaction is of the utmost importance. We could tell you about how happy our clients are, but why paraphrase when they’ve said it best:

“Veracity is thoughtful, creative and does a great job of staying ahead of what is going on. They have gone above and beyond what they were hired to do. We are very pleased with their work and our relationship with the team.”

Clutch Review Veracity

At Veracity, we are dedicated to helping businesses build closer relationships with their target audiences, and we do so at a level of excellence and thoughtfulness which is unparalleled. If you would like to work with us then feel free to reach out. And if you’re still not convinced then see what else our clients have to say about us on our site or on our Clutch profile.


Event: PR Talk Live with Malia Spencer

Event: PR Talk Live with Malia Spencer

Join us on June 7th at Pregame HQ in the Pearl

Amy will interview Malia Spencer, the Portland Business Journal’s startup and technology reporter. Get your questions answered and meet Malia — sometimes all it takes is putting a face behind the blind email pitch or press release.

5:00 pm | Doors & initial Happy Hour
5:15 pm | Live Podcast Interview
6:00 pm | Q&A and First Thursday Happy Hour

More info and tickets at


5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

June 7th

Pregame HQ

926 NW 13th Ave, Portland, OR 97209

PR Talk Live with Malia Spencer

At Pregame HQ in the Pearl

Register Now, Free for Pregame Members, $47 for Guests

To learn more about Pregame, listen to our PR Talk episode with Pregame Founder, Ciara Pressler.

Experienced PR Pro

Experienced PR Pro

Veracity, a boutique PR company based in Portland, Ore., is looking to bring in an experienced PR professional. This is an opportunity for someone who wants to fulfill ongoing, permanent work with a steady workflow & payment coming down the pipeline but operating a bit more independently on a part-time contract basis. You’d be remotely pitching and maintaining media relationships on behalf of a few clients, although in-person meetings can be accommodated.

We will provide the campaigns and parameters you are to place. The success of the job will be measured by how many placements are garnered. A set role of expectations would be fulfilled, measured in terms of PR placements and results. You must have a proven track record of garnering high-profile PR placements, with skills in both writing and media follow through. Also, a history of success while operating independently is a plus.

To apply: email your qualifications and writing samples (press release and blog post) to careers(at)

Photo by Lost Co on Unsplash

Join Us Honoring Ethical Businesses

Join Us Honoring Ethical Businesses

Oregon Ethics in Business Awards

It shouldn’t be surprising that a company called Veracity supports ethical business practices. Veracity is proud to sponsor the Oregon Ethics in Business Awards, of which our CEO, Mike Rosenberg, is Chair. Congratulations to the impressive 2018 recipients:

  • KEEN, Les Schwab, The Portland Clinic
  • Fully, Lakeside Lumber, Tom Dwyer Automotive
  • Shriners Hospital for Children, Portland Children’s Museum, Habitat for Humanity.

We hope you’ll join us on May 23rd at the Oregon Ethics in Business Awards hosted by the Rotary Club of Portland and presented by KGW Media Group. Listen to Mike’s interview about the Awards & the Rotary on the Weekly Portland Podcast.

Oregon Ethics in Business Interview

Listen to an early episode of PR Talk for more in-depth information on the Oregon Ethics in Business Awards with longtime committee member and former committee Chair Dick Clark.

Account Executive at Veracity

Account Executive at Veracity

Veracity Seeks Account Executive to Handle Growing Agency Needs

Our growing agency is looking to add another member to our team. This experienced Account Executive — with 2-4 years of true public relations experience preferably in an agency setting — will serve as the primary contact for a handful of Veracity accounts. You will be supported by an Account Coordinator, with Veracity owners serving as strategists and problem-solvers on all accounts.

Veracity Account Executive duties could include, but wouldn’t be limited to, the following:

  • Identifying & placing press opportunities for clients.
  • Daily contact with clients & media relating to what you’re working on.
  • Collaboration & possibly management of east coast media pitcher.
  • Collaboration & possibly management of copywriter(s).
  • Collaboration & management of Account Coordinator on specific projects, such as research, media reports, social media maintenance, various writing opportunities and more.
  • Contribute to Veracity’s social media & blog.
  • Writing. Writing. Writing. Press pitches, articles, press releases, blog posts & more.
  • Editing. Editing. Editing. Everyone needs an editor. Please be ours!

Working at Veracity is fun. We grind it out with our heads down each day but that gives us more work-life balance in the end. Flexible work schedules and working locations are granted to team-players who get results and give it their all—no matter when or where they are working.

Benefits include generous vacation/PTO, FMLA, health benefits, competitive compensation and continuing education opportunities.

To apply: email your qualifications and writing samples (press release and blog post) to careers(at)

**Applications that do not include (or link to) a sample press release and blog post that you’ve written will not be considered. You must include both.**

Photo by Matteo Vistocco on Unsplash