Being “green” has been a hot topic for years, especially in Portland. Now everyone is trying to take advantage of its popularity. While definitely worthwhile, an office that simply recycles is not doing enough in the sustainability department to warrant any media coverage.

Last week I attended an enlightening PRSA function that drew on insight from local reporters:

Christina Williams, Editor of Sustainable Business Oregon (a Portland Business Journal publication),

Scott Learn, Environmental Reporter with The Oregonian,

and Inessa Anderson, sustainability reporter with KINK FM radio.

Here are each reporter’s individual tips:

Christina:

  • Needs numbers-heavy business stories
  • Focuses on many energy stories because they provide the most in the way of numbers/business angels
  • Images that can accompany stories help, especially online
  • People with a point of view have been guest columnists in the past
  • Wants to deal with the company’s founder, if possible
  • How can companies make money from being green?

Inessa:

  • Reminded us that KINK is a forum for the community
  • Wants to hear about what is next, what is the next step (i.e. Eco-roofs)
  • Stories that are authentic and personal with a “human face” behind them are winners. Talking to people with their “boots on the ground” is of priority
  • Keep it local!
  • A green lifestyle tidbit that she didn’t know about is always fun

Scott:

  • Typically covers general environmental stories such as fish and forests
  • Not enough reporters at The Oregonian to give sustainability stories much focus, but if there is a lot of depth to the story it might be considered.
  • Pitches need to be tailored for him. He won’t even look at a mass e-mail (who would?). He appreciates tips that can be part of a larger trend/story idea that he can delve into.
  • When pitching products, include a “Life Cycle Analysis.”
  • He is wary of “corn.”
  • Specific numbers, honest answers and full disclosure. (If he feels that interviewee is skirting around hard questions, he will drop the story).
  • OregonLive has turned hyper-local, so if your company/client is doing something noteworthy in a specific area (such as in Gresham, Southeast or Beaverton), find the corresponding community page online and it will be included.
  • Carrie Sturrock is a freelancer whose green column runs every Friday in the “How We Live Section.” She offers ways individuals can live green lifestyles and bring sustainability into their homes.

Consistent themes among all three reporters:

  • Please do not pitch anything related to Earth Day…been there, done that!
  • Know who you are talking to, do your research before contacting any reporters
  • None of them are tweeting enough to use this tool for pitching

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Amy Rosenberg
Founder and President at Veracity
Writer. Podcaster. Press Friend. Hand Holder.