Media Relations

How to build & manage a press list, and foster strong relationships with members of the press.

Table of Contents

Building a Press List

Building Media Relationships

Building a Press List

How to get started with building out a press list for your region, and keeping it organized to maximize effective outreach.

Create a regional-specific tab in PAF’s existing press list to keep track of press contact information in your area. You can reference this list when contacting publications with proposed stories or opinion pieces, and when sending out media blasts. The PAF press list also contains national outlets, but more should be added as we expand our press relationships.

Key Information to Capture

Journalist Name

Media Format (radio, newspaper, TV, etc)

Journalist's Title & Beat

Key Audience / Publication Theme

Outlet Name

Opinion Section (include column to indicate if opinion pieces are accepted)

Outlet / Journalist Contact Info

Important Notes (related publications, established relationships, etc.)

Location (local, national, or international publication – and specific region)

Additional Info (social handles, about pages, etc. for more intel on the journalist)

Target Beats

These are the topics that most closely relate to our pro-animal campaign work, so finding journalists with these types of beats should be of focus when building your press list.

Animal Rights & Welfare

Social Justice & Activism


Legal Affairs


Local News

Generating Press Contacts

Building your press list requires some up-front research to identify target outlets and journalists to pick up campaign coverage and opinion pieces.

  1. Research local outlets. Look into all local publications for your region, including smaller outlets and even school newspapers. You can start by googling “local news [City]”, navigating to outlet websites and finding their “Contact” section where you’ll typically find a contact form or general submission email address that you can use to submit stories for consideration. Make sure to include local affiliates for the big four TV networks: ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC (e.g. Google “ABC Denver”).

  2. Include national outlets too. Don’t limit yourself to local outlets, as there are many more national options you can include in your outreach. Include pro-animal outlets as well as those that have picked up similar types of stories in the past. Start by searching things like “animal rights news” and noting any outlets that have favorably covered related stories. Any contact information for journalists affiliated with national outlets should be added to the list as we look to expand our reach.

  3. Search for individual names within outlets. Where possible, try to include the names and contact information of specific journalists for local and national outlets so you can reach out to them directly and build relationships over time. Many outlets get thousands of submissions, so having a direct contact may make it more likely for your piece to be seen and published.

    • Current event reporters may be listed with titles like “General Assignment Reporter” or “City Editor”, so keep an eye out for those.

    • In some cases, journalists will have their contact info linked in their bio on the outlet’s website. If not, try searching Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google, or use, which is free for limited use.

  4. Look for sympathetic journalists. Search around to see which journalists have published neutral to positive stories about animals in the past and may be more likely to give us favorable coverage. In Google News, try search terms like “animal cruelty”, “farmed animals” or “animal rights”, but also consider those who have published stories that may be adjacent to our work, such as environmental protection or workers’ rights. We generally want to pitch to journalists whose beat lines up with our campaign.

  5. Set press alerts. Navigate to to get daily updates on any news stories that include specified keywords. These updates will be sent to your email. Take note of the outlets and journalists providing coverage on the campaign, or related coverage, and ensure they are included in your press list as someone to reach out to with stories in the future. Keywords could include:

    • Names of local PAF leadership

    • Opposition names

    • Pro-Animal Future

    • [Denver] ballot

    • Fur ban / slaughterhouse ban

    • Journalist names

Organizing Your Press List

Maintaining an organized, up-to-date list of press contacts helps ensure you can get your story into the right hands. Once you’ve built your press list, it requires ongoing maintenance to ensure it continues to grow, stays updated with current contact information, and is structured in a way that is useful.

Below are some suggestions for how to organize your list with different spreadsheet tabs or filters based on core uses.

Key Press List UsesPress List Organization

Targeting specific journalists or outlets to pick up particular stories.

Create spreadsheet filters so you can sort contacts by location, format, audience, or beat. Target your outreach to certain media types, beats, locations, audiences, etc.

Sending blasts to large numbers of local and national outlets when trying to get a story picked up.

Filter for press release & advisory contacts so you can easily grab all email addresses when sending a blast.

Identifying outlets to submit opinion pieces to.

Filter for publications with opinion sections so you can narrow your list to see only outlets that regularly publish op-eds and letters to the editor when considering where to pitch an opinion piece.

Outreach to non-traditional outlets (such as influencers or podcasters) to secure partnerships and broaden reach.

Filter or separate tab for alternative outlets that may host or feature us, or promote our campaign in some way (e.g. podcasters, bloggers, influencers).

Building Media Relationships

1. Start by reaching out to journalists you admire.

If you read a piece you enjoy, send a message to that journalist to share what you liked. Showing a genuine interest and admiration for someone’s work is flattering, and is a great way to begin building rapport.

2. Research journalists before getting in touch.

Search Google and Twitter with journalist names to see what they have published recently. An understanding of their body of work can inform your outreach style and equip you with talking points.

3. Use Twitter to build rapport with media contacts.

Journalists tend to be very active on Twitter, so tweeting at them, retweeting their content, or direct messaging them is a great way to reach desired media contacts. Tweet them to compliment a story you just read, ask a question, or nicely refute an argument in order to spark up a conversation.

4. Leverage existing connections.

If you build a strong relationship with a journalist or someone with press connections, see if they would be willing to make introductions to other journalists or provide insights that may help you pitch to others more effectively.

5. Set a coffee meeting or virtual call.

Ask the journalist if they’d be open to meeting so you can learn more about them or their industry. Journalists are always looking for ways to build sources in the communities they report on, so this could be mutually beneficial.

6. Give certain journalists first priority on stories.

If there are any particularly respected journalists that you feel would cover the story well and in a sympathetic light, reach out to them first so they can get the story out before other outlets. This not only helps build a relationship with that journalist, but it helps to shape the narrative for subsequent coverage.

7. Consider what you can offer them.

When reaching out to journalists, it’s important to think through what you can offer them in terms of serving their audience or doing the legwork on putting together great stories by providing compelling angles, key facts, spokespeople, great visuals, etc. The easier you are to work with, the more likely they’ll be to want to work with you.

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