Rehashing the PRSA Media Breakfast

by Staff Written

May 17, 2016 at 12:15 pm

This blog was originally posted by HMA Public Relations on May 13, written by Alison Bailin.

Did you miss the #PRSAlovesproducers Media Breakfast at Night yesterday?



If you couldn’t make it to last night’s event, which featured ABC 15’s Tyson Milanovich and 3TV’s Jessica Parsons and Ali Dugaw, we’ve got you covered.

Here is everything you missed…

All about Tyson

Fun fact – This is his FIFTH time being a part of a PRSA media breakfast – his first was about 10 years ago now at the very first “Media Breakfast at Night” at the Scottsdale Plaza.

Oh – Tyson also helped launch TMZ. No seriously.

And he’s been hit by lightning. Again, seriously.

He also had to give up a hotel suite once to Sir Mix-A-Lot (we are hoping it was in the early ‘90s or else that would be sad).

On a more serious note, however, after interning at ABC 15 nearly 20 years ago, he actually got into the dot com boom – until Sept. 11, 2001. As he watched the footage, he was inspired to get back into the news business.

Many folks know Tyson from his years at 3TV, but he actually interned at ABC15 20 years ago this fall – and all these years later is back heading up the mornings from 4:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. each weekday.

Insights from Tyson

Don’t be afraid to call him – like a real person!

He gets nearly 300 emails a day and is a pro at skimming the first two lines of each one…so get to the point in those two lines.

Pitches to him should be focused on the value to his viewer – what would the takeaway be from a story with you or your client and why?

Know that ABC 15 is far different from 3TV or FOX 10. They only have one “segment” a day – if that – so pitch stories, and do it a few days in advance. Tyson actually has anywhere from three to five reporters who are done with the live show by 7 a.m. who he can send to cover a story with you or your client at 8 a.m. and then run the next day (or provide to another news hour to use later that day) so think ahead!

Know his work day – he gets into the station at 2 a.m. and his show is live from 4:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. If you pitch him past noon – chances are he won’t be reading your email. And, since he gets so many PM emails, yours will most likely be really low on his radar by the time he gets in the next morning.

Oh, and please don’t text him. He actually showed us a 40-line text from a PR person he got just before the panel. It was insane!

Yes, he is down for coffee or to meet up after the show – just ask. Even better, bring coffee to the station and he will give you the grand tour and show all the inner workings.

Have an event, business or even financial story? Turns out the ABC 15 web team wants to hear from you! Click here to see the list of contacts to send this info to on a regular basis.

As for B-roll, they still take it, but simply load it to Youtube and send a link, or use Dropbox. None of the stations really need burned DVDs or other methods of tape these days.

All about Jessica

Once upon a time—okay, in the mid-‘90s—there was a 3TV producer named Jessica Parsons with an office romance (she married her co-worker, Jeffrey!), a hell of a sense of humor, giant smile and fabulous fashion sense. According to Jessica, if wearing a pink watch, pink shoe laces and a pink hair clip at the age of 40 is wrong, she doesn’t want to be right.  If it sparkles, glitters, shimmers, shines or glows, she’s sold!

Same holds true for any and all story ideas, by the way, make them sparkle and send in loads!

But we digress…

Flash forward to today – after moving twice, adopting three dogs, having a child and taking a break from AZ Family to run Phoenix Woman Magazine, launch North Scottsdale Lifestyle Magazine, oversee a sparkle-infused lifestyle blog and even produce Arizona Highways Television, she is back where she belongs at 3TV and Good Morning Arizona. In fact, it is her third tour of duty at the station!

Oh, we should also mention she actually got into news after FOX 10 icon Dave Munsey came and spoke to her high school, and then she wrote a paper on him and got to visit the studio. From that day on – at only 16 years old – she was hooked.

Tips from Jessica

Change hurts these days at 3TV. No, really.

3TV now uses a program called Ignite, which programs the entire show (sort of liking putting it on autopilot). This means that if even one thing needs to be changed (say, you send in the wrong spokesperson name or want their title changed) for your segment less than 24 hours in advance, their team literally has to reboot the entire system. During that time, no one can hear each other or see on the monitors. It gets crazy – so always fill out your segment sheets and only send in final drafts for your stories!

She is human! Like many of us, her desk is an explosion of papers. Booking 50-plus segments per week is as insane as it sounds.

Now, saying that, there are three ways Jess, Ali and the rest of the team see and know what is happening at every second, show-wise and planning-wise:

  • Online calendars
  • An actual written calendar
  • A giant wall calendar

The above helps them to know that they aren’t booking two cooking segments or pet segments back-to-back. But yes, when there is a change, they have to make it three places so everyone is in the know.

She also notes that even if she loves one of your pitches, once she gives it the green light, she actually has to pitch it herself to about 20 other people. Without their buy-in, she can’t give your story the final go-ahead. Make it easy for her – tell her WHY the segment should be booked. Give her the ammunition she needs in front of those 20 people.

On that note, always provide takeaways and the value for the viewer too.

While she isn’t as available for regular phone calls like Tyson, she notes the best time to reach her via email is around noon – after the show and after all the post-show meetings. Sometimes she is out welcoming guests and setting up segments during the entire morning show and doesn’t even see her email until then.

Her favorite kinds of stories to tell are of real people with real stories. She loves coming into someone’s home and being entrusted with their family’s story.

When asked about the merger with CBS 5, she notes that both stations’ teams really like each other, but as one could imagine it has been – at times – like when two parents get married and the children from both sides are asked to move in and share a bedroom. Sure, there are growing pains, but they are all making it work.

The benefit of the “shared bedroom” for PR folks is the added segment opportunities. Yes, she notes, often a reporter from either station will get additional footage that can be used in a different way on its sister station. In fact, feel free to plan other angles with the reporters to better help them develop different content on the same subject if you can.

All about Ali

While Ali technically grew up in the suburbs of Chicago; she went to high school right here in the Valley at Mountain View in Mesa and college at the U of A, where she studied journalism…and beer.

(To be more specific, she was a Poly Sci major but had to take a Journalism class as part of her requirements to graduate. She ended up doing her first journo story about the Sonoran Toad – the one that gets you high if you lick it. When she produced actual audio of her interview subject on a toad trip, the professor knew she had a natural talent and urged her to get into journalism as a major.)

After college, she joined ABC15 running studio cameras before she had the chance to start producing the evening news and eventually went big-time as one of the station’s local programming producers. Many of us in the room know Ali well from when she launched the beloved but now departed Smart Family on ABC15.

After escaping the newsroom in 2011 – when she wasn’t busy trekking across Southeast Asia and backpacking Central America, she moved over to the social media and marketing side of things – and even worked as a catering manager before making the move back to TV earlier this year. If you need advice on cutlery or crostini, she’s your girl.

Now, she and Jessica book about 50-plus segments a week at Good Morning Arizona – both in studio and in the field.

In her spare time, she’s at a concert or a ballgame and is planning trips to both St. Maarten and Napa.

Oh, she also gluten intolerant so can tell you the best GF joints in town including True Food, Mastro’s, The Stand and Jewel’s Bakery.

Tips from Ali

You know that “bullet point” option on the computer – use it! Know and love bullets! Try not to pitch her a novel. Like Jessica and Tyson, she gets about 300 emails a day and has to skim.

In those bullets, however, list the visuals or what you think the visuals could be so she can see how you imagine the segment.

As for the best time to pitch – try 7 a.m. right when she gets in. Then your email will be at the top of the list and in the front of her mind. And do it about 7-10 days in advance so you have time to follow-up with her if she hasn’t given you feedback.

Always pitch via email first – help create a trail of the conversation for her so she can go back and recall it when it comes time to pitch her team.

Much like Jessica, she can’t stress enough the need for as little change once the segment is booked and set as possible. She even notes that be sure with the client that they know exactly how you are pitching a story so they don’t try to alter the topic once they are live on air, which has happened.

Speaking of guests and your clients, be sure to media train them well. She is on the lookout for guests with pop who can hit their talking points without sounding like robots or looking like deer in the headlights. She makes note and will ask them to come back. Feel free to ask her for feedback on a guest, in fact, so you can help make your clients better over time.

One more note on clients – they are open to getting a pitch on the same guest or client much sooner than you would think. A general rule of thumb is to wait 4-5 weeks after a guest or client or restaurant has been on to pitch them again. Then go for it!

May 17, 2016 at 12:15 pm

Staff Written