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Getting to Know News Reporters: Professional Organizations

By on Thursday, December 1, 2011

One way to get to know news reporters and understand the issues they care about, is to follow or join the professional organizations they are involved with. Thanks to Twitter, Facebook and the web, you can often keep up with an organization’s professional activities, conferences, awards programs and networking events easily.

What types of organizations should you look for? There may be a local media club in your city or community or a Society of Professional Journalists chapter. Professionally, there are several organizations at a national level for reporters working in particular beat areas.

Association of Food Journalists
Association of Healthcare Journalists
Capitol Beat – An Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors
Education Writers Association
Garden Writers Association of America
Investigative Reporters & Editors
Military Reporters & Editors – The Association for Military Journalists
National Association of Science Writers
Religion Writers
Society of American Business Editors & Writers
Society of Environmental Journalists
Society of Professional Journalists
National Press Club

Some professional journalism organizations allow public relations professionals to join as associate or affiliated members. If you join an association, it’s important to know their guidelines and rules. If you join a professional organization to network with journalists – remember – it’s not about selling you or your organization.

It’s about building relationships. It’s also about learning, so you can better understand the issues and topics that journalists care about. Ask questions. Try to listen more than you talk. Tred gently if you are just getting to know people in the group. Pitch in and participate. Volunteer to help with a project. If the organization has an awards program, pay attention to who wins, and congratulate them.

Everyone wants to know what you think.

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