Six Tips on Building Positive Relationships With Journalists [Infographic]

A Guest Post by Amanda Levenson, UMASS at Amherst Student, PR Expanded Infographic Contest Winner

For the PR Expanded Infographic contest, I chose to offer insight on how to build and preserve successful relationships with reporters. I selected this topic because I am a Journalism major with five internships under my belt. Media relations interests me because of the relationships I have personally had with public relations professionals. I was intrigued as I sat in class and learned about what happens on the other side of these interactions. I had never stopped to think about the objectives and intentions on a public relations specialist’s end. It also made me look deeper at my experiences working with PR professionals and how my relationships with them varied. Some people became my go-to resources because I knew I could depend on them to answer quickly and with helpful, relevant information. Others became notorious to me as slow-to-respond, unfriendly, or too pushy. These people became the sources I tended to avoid. When the time came to start my infographic, I felt it would be fitting to educate PR pro’s about how to make their communications with the media positive.

The target audience for my infographic is PR pro’s who specialize in media relations and trying to win earned media for their client. I wanted to communicate best practices for these interactions, so that my audience can learn to create mutually beneficial relationships between themselves and the journalists they work with. The purpose of the infographic is to help PR practitioners understand how to build meaningful relationships with journalists and make the most out of their time and effort. I hope to educate people on how to leave a positive lasting impression on reporters and how to be useful to these journalists.

I went about selecting tips by prioritizing points that Deirdre Breakenridge emphasized in Answers for Modern Communicators, and also aligned with tips Professor Jennie Donohue focused on in class and things that have mattered to me during my internships. I took notes as I read the book and made a list of the advice for working with reporters. I proceeded by looking over the list, combining points that related to one another, and deciding which held the most weight. By compiling information from the reading, in-class lessons, and personal experience, I was able to create a useful infographic.

Six Tips on Building Positive Relationships with Journalists

My Infographic connects back to class content because we have discussed media relations at-length and what practices are best when planning and executing these interactions. We have discussed how media relations must be strategic because it means seeking a third-party endorsement, or uncontrolled media. When working with the media, there really are no guarantees, and public relations professionals must know the potential benefits and consequences of that. Whether it is a newspaper, magazine, television channel, online publication, etc., earned media continues to be the most credible way to create awareness, and so public relations practitioners must understand how to work well with journalists. They need to know how to develop, maintain and improve relationships with reporters, and I strived to deliver comprehensive advice on how to do this with my infographic.

Amanda Levenson, UMASS at Amherst Student

Amanda Levenson is a senior at the University of Massachusetts Amherst pursuing a BA in Journalism and a minor in Political Science. Amanda can be reached at and followed on Twitter at @Amanda_Levenson.