So, you’ve just finished writing your latest pitch and have officially received the green light from your client to distribute the good news. Congratulations! You may think that the hard part is over and that the next step is getting an enthusiastic response from a journalist – well, think again.

In the world of media relations, the more time-consuming work comes after the writing, and a crucial step in getting your news out to the media is building a solid list of journalists who may be interested in receiving the announcement. The first step in building an appropriate media list is looking at the focus or “beat” of each reporter, and then you must narrow down your list by titles/roles at each publication.

First, you must ask yourself these questions: Who accepts pitches? Who assigns news stories? Who should I not contact?

Before you go any further – I should note this isn’t a guide on who to pitch, but rather a guessing game to see how well you know common titles within a media outlet so that you can determine who should be prioritized for pitching. See the instructions below and good luck!

Instructions: Utilize the below word bank to match the editor’s descriptions with the appropriate role.

Word Bank

  1. Publisher
  2. Senior Editor
  3. Staff Writer
  4. Managing Editor
  5. Editor-in-Chief
  6. Digital Editor
  7. Freelance Editor
  8. Reporter/Journalist

Role Description

  1. This journalist oversees high-level organizational operations and their job description includes hiring staff, determining the look and feel of a publication, editing and fact-checking copy, and sometimes even writing articles themselves.
  2. This person is a self-employed worker who is often contracted with a variety of publications. These editors often read, review and correct writing for their publications, so they are good ones to pitch once you become familiar with their interests/beats.
  3. This media guru is tasked with maintaining the day-to-day operations of a media outlet, including generating story ideas (and editorial calendars), planning and assigning content, supervising staff and overseeing commissions of stories and art. For these reasons, these editors are some of the best contacts for pitching at an outlet.
  4. This journalist has the most junior role within a media outlet and contributes content to the publication from within (this is an office-based role). Unfortunately, they have little freedom to determining content direction, so proceed with caution while pitching these folks.
  5. This person is responsible for making their publications an editorial and commercial success.
  6. This person covers a variety of topics and will often travel for their role rather than remaining in the office. Hint: This is not a staff writer
  7. The duties of this editor are to oversee writing or production for newspapers, magazines, newsletters, or other types of digital or print media, such as a website or blog. Responsibilities include assigning stories for their junior staff members (hint) to write or research
  8. This person is responsible for the content and images used on a website.

Answers (don’t peek)

  1. E
  2. G
  3. D
  4. C
  5. A
  6. H
  7. B
  8. F

Once you master these titles and the steps mentioned above, then you have all the knowledge to build a successful media list. I think we all can agree spending time on and putting hard work into a pitch just to send it to the wrong contacts would be disappointing, right? So, picking the perfect contacts to distribute to is very important. Then you can sit back and wait to see if your pitch gets a bite!