Journalism is changing fast. Newsrooms are shrinking, news is published online first, and the “hungry beast” that is publishing requires more content than ever before. So how do we communicate with journalists effectively to give our story pitch the best possible chance of success?

Simon Holt, a veteran journalist with Australia’s Fairfax Media in Brisbane, has written a book crammed with useful tips for anyone communicating with reporters. It’s called 101 Ways to Connect with Modern Newsrooms. James and Nic spoke to Simon Holt:


Here are some key take-outs:

“This book has put in writing the words that every journalist has been wanting to say.” — Nic

  • As newsrooms go “digital first”, they are also shrinking. That’s where the opportunity exists for public relations.
  • Digital news comes with a lot of analytics that help journalists tune their stories to what people want, which couldn’t happen in print.
  • Don’t sell a story to a journalist, sell a story to the audience the journalist is serving.

“There is immense opportunity for the PR industry to capitalise on what’s happening. — Simon Holt

  • Journalists are not experts in everything and they’re open to actual experts contacting them to share their knowledge because it helps the debate.
  • You don’t need to be controversial to get coverage, you just need to be different.
  • Make it easy for the journalist. Get to the point quickly and provide everything “on a plate”.

“The little hook — the point where people’s eyebrows raise and they say ‘tell me more about that’, that’s where the story needs to go — that’s the gist of it.” — James

  • Don’t send it out mass press releases; target a reporter and a publication with a tailored communication.
  • Journalists are not the enemy. If you understand them and their audience you will succeed.

Here are the links you might need

  • To take advantage of Simon Holt’s offer to Brand Newsroom listeners of free postage with a copy of 101 Ways to Connect with Modern Newsrooms, email him directly at
  • You can also buy a copy of Simon’s book here.  
  • Follow Simon Holt on Twitter


Simon Holt’s book

Have you heard the one about…

Recently James, Sarah and Nic spoke to Jo McManus from Edith Cowan University about the future of brand journalism.


And here’s a discussion with Carla Johnson, author of Experiences: The Seventh Era of Marketing.

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