Articles Written By:

Cameron McPherson

Publish or Pass: Insights from Richmond-Area Journalists

This fall, the Hodges team hosted HodgesCon, an all-day learning event with guest speakers for staff to learn from and engage with. I moderated a morning session with local journalists who shared perspectives on how they cover the news and how to best work with them. Ian Stewart with VPM, Eric Kolenich with the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Brendan King with CBS-6 joined the Hodges team for a look inside their workdays, how they cover the news and how to best work with them. Some of…

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Dear Abby (and others): How do I become a better networker?

With a mask in tow and hand sanitizer and business cards in my pocket, I attended my first in-person conference since the start of the pandemic last summer. Seeing a registration table and a breakfast buffet sparked a latent delight I forgot I missed in between Zooms and working from home. The opportunity to meet new people, in-person again – a joy to my PR world. But as I haphazardly said, “great!” before someone asked how I was doing and stumbled through a few introductions,…

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Woman reading a newspaper outside with a cup of black coffee

Virginia news updates you should know about

The Hodges team regularly engages journalists across Virginia. Here are some recent Virginia news developments you should know about in your earned media relations outreach. New online outlets Last month, several former Roanoke Times staffers launched The Cardinal News, an online investigative outlet covering Southwest and Southside Virginia. Longtime Roanoke Times opinions editor Dwayne Yancey is serving as the site’s editor, which will provide in-depth coverage of politics, the economy and culture. Sign up for the website’s newsletter to stay up to date.   Henri…

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Bright colored paper with pronouns like your, my, her, him, their.

Pronouns and PR: Make your media relations more inclusive

Hello, my name is Cameron and I use he/him pronouns. Our roles as media relations professionals are important as we make connections between journalists and spokespersons. Pronouns and PR go together, and here are a few ways you can make your media relations more affirming by including pronouns. List pronouns of media contacts List the media contacts’ pronouns in your press releases. Easy. For example, I list: MEDIA CONTACTCameron McPherson (he/him)Email AddressPhone number Include pronouns in quotes In general, you don’t need to specifically point…

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Monday is the deadline for this easy-to-apply scholarship for PR students

I proudly serve as the president of the Richmond Public Relations Foundation. Every year, we give out three $1,500 scholarships to public relations students in Virginia. The deadline to apply is this Monday, Oct. 12 at 11:59 EST. If you’re a junior or senior, I hope you’ll consider submitting materials. Get all the details here. Applying is easy. You’ll need to submit a one-page essay focused on “why you want to work in PR and how you have prepared yourself for a career in communications,”…

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Here’s one way you can support PR students during the pandemic

When I was a PR student, I always valued conversations with PR professionals. Their insights and advice helped me navigate the beginnings of my communications career. During my first internship at CarMax, I remember Trina Lee, APR telling me about her career switch from TV news to public relations as we drove back from a store grand opening in Fredericksburg. When I attended VCU PRSSA meetings, Taya Jarman, APR visited often as PRSA Richmond’s student relations chair and offered important guidance and luncheon networking tips….

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10 tips for mastering your television Skype or Zoom interview

One of the neatest things about technology advances is how it lets news organizations connect with sources and experts more quickly. With Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts and other video calling tools, news networks like CNN and MSNBC can get an expert on the air in a matter of minutes. And, right now, TV stations may have no other choice than to book a Zoom interview when trying to air interviews with experts. While we’ve all gotten much more comfortable with video-conferencing tools recently, a video interview via Skype or Zoom is…

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Considerations for your next virtual media interview

During the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve been helping several media relations clients secure interviews through Zoom or Skype. More and more TV journalists are connecting with subjects for a virtual media interview, and we wanted to share tips to make your next interview a success. Zoom or Skype? Journalists use a lot of different platforms for a virtual media interview (for example, a reporter suggested using Facebook Messenger video last week). If you’re coordinating an interview for an expert and have the choice, I prefer Zoom….

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Questioning Facebook’s News Desert Designations in Virginia

Virginia is home to 133 daily and weekly newspapers. I know because I work with many of these hyper local outlets on behalf of clients. (I also counted and double-checked with the Virginia Press Association late last year.) I’m questioning Facebook’s latest research into Virginia’s news deserts. To support its new Today In section on the Facebook app, the company is working “to better understand the local news vacuum” and looked at news deserts across the U.S. According to Facebook: To build Today In, we…

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Happy National Newspaper Week: RTD Subscription Giveaway!

We use Slack as a messaging tool in our office. It’s where we keep projects moving, send files and share information. Not a workday goes by when someone doesn’t share a news article in our main channel about something happening locally. Local journalism – especially news about transportation, restaurants and our clients – drives a lot of our conversations at Hodges. We have our local paper of record the Richmond Times-Dispatch to thank for that. When Hodges launched more than 15 years ago, we were…

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How to make your media advisories (and events) more social media-friendly

Does your team regularly distribute media advisories? If so, make sure they’re incorporating social media when pulling together info. I love a good media advisory. Done well, it should communicate to journalists what to expect at an event, the types of video and audio that will be available, the on-site spokespersons and other relevant logistics. This is done through the five basic journalistic elements: Who, What, When, Where and Why. Because social media is such an integral part of the communication strategy for newsrooms, don’t…

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Media relations

The Consumer PR Survey is (Almost) Dead

The Associated Press recently added a new section on polls and surveys. The guidance is focused on political polling and explains in a blog post, “The new chapter, available immediately to AP Stylebook Online subscribers, leads with longstanding guidance that the mere existence of a poll is not enough to make news.” While the new chapter is focused on political polling – PR practitioners should keep this guidance in mind when considering consumer surveys for media relations outreach. You know the one. Seeking media attention,…

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