Ad Agencies: Write Your Own Story at CNN’s iReport

Pitching national news media can be challenging, frustrating and time consuming. Identifying and getting to the right reporter or assignment editor is tough enough, but even with a good, well-targeted story there’s still a lot of competition.

Now, you can take things into your own hands at CNN through iReport, which offers opportunities to write your own story and possibly get television network coverage.

“Welcome to iReport, where people take part in the news with CNN. Your voice, together with other iReporters, helps shape how and what CNN covers everyday,” is the way viewers are greeting upon arriving at the website.

The Assignment Desk section tells you what sources CNN is seeking at a given time, although your story can be about something entirely different.

Still, it helps to know what the network is interested in hearing about at a given time, and you at least can take some comfort in knowing the site is being monitored by people who report the news.

There also are some helpful tips about the ingredients of a good story, as well as advice about photos, videos and recording the sound of your story.

If CNN runs a story you submitted through iReport, I’d enjoy hearing about it.

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.

Ad Agencies Beware of News Media Bias

Amateur night was on full display last week when CNN reporter Susan Roesgen, covering a tea party in Chicago, berated participants as anti-government and anti-CNN right-wing extremists. Hey, Susan, have you ever heard of the First Amendment? As unprofessional and biased as her reporting was, the most disturbing aspect to me was that she was so clearly threatened by people expressing another point of view contrary to the one she holds. So much for diversity and tolerance.

Sadly, there were many other examples of coverage on networks that was crude, demeaning and condescending. No wonder much of the news media continues to lose credibility – for a number of reporters, there’s no longer even a pretense of objectivity. Whatever happened to the days when the news media simply reported the news?  To its credit, FOX News provided fair and appropriate coverage.

My wife and I attended the tea party in Franklin, Tennessee, which police estimated drew more than a thousand people. As with other tea parties across the nation, the participants were orderly Americans expressing a legitimate point of view and using their constitutional rights to peacefully assemble and protest out-of-control government spending and expansion. Contrast the behavior at U.S. tea parties with the destructive mob in London during the recent G20 meeting.

Reporters like Susan who are threatened by free speech and so biased that they can’t cover an event without having an emotional meltdown really don’t belong in the news business. Serving as minister of propaganda for dictators such as Hugo Chavez or Fidel Castro likely would be more within their comfort zones.

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.