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Our team values the relationships we create with media contacts. Al Johnson, planning manager and executive producer with Fox 2 News, joined the team for some inside talk about his views on working with PR professionals. In return, we asked him how we could better collaborate with him and his team in the newsroom. He spoke with us about his job responsibilities, as well as what he values in a potential story and the importance of giving the public the right news. Here are a few tidbits from our Q&A session:

What are some everyday challenges you face?

It is a fast-paced job working in the newsroom. Out of the roughly 400 pitches in my inbox every day, I check – at least skim – every single one I receive. A well-detailed seven to eight word subject line and a recognizable sender can play a vital role in how much time I take to review the entire pitch.

What key factors do you consider when choosing stories to be included on Fox 2?

We take viewer value seriously. What will the viewer get out of it? We won’t cover a story if our viewers won’t value it. Take time to consider whether what you are pitching is relevant and will present well on TV.  While some stories are visual and meant for television others are better off in print.

How do you think Detroit views Fox 2?

We are reliable. Our viewers know they’re going to receive unbiased information when they watch our shows. Viewers really do look to us as the “Problem Solvers.”  Our investigative reporters take the time to consider both sides of the story.

How can we make your job easier?

A couple things:

Don’t call me to pitch a story. We’re busy at the studio, and it’s hard to take phone calls during the day. It’s easier, more effective, and I promise it’s read, if you send an email pitch instead.

Preparation is huge for in-studio segments. Make sure clients understand expectations for a live interview or segment. Have them watch examples of similar past segments to obtain perspective on the setup and format. For example, if your client is participating in a cooking segment, they’ll be more prepared if they see how quickly the interview passes, how important it is to demo even an easy recipe, and find out how much space they have to display other entrees.

Lastly, make sure your client is early and on time. Believe it or not, we have people show up five minutes before an interview and expect to have time for prep. Our airtime is go-time. If you’re not ready, we’re moving on without you…chances are we won’t invite you back.

If the station is unable to attend an event, can you use b-roll that we send you?

We’re a union business and cannot accept any b-roll footage within a 50-mile radius of our news station. Our team must film all footage aired unless it’s from a private event or outside of our perimeter – but by then, it’s out of our coverage area anyway.

How did you get into the news business?

I had always been a news junkie, but it wasn’t until I was looking to make a change that my wife took me to an open house at Specs Howard, and I fell in love. It was interesting because I was already established in the workforce, and then I became an intern. It just goes to show – it’s never too late to pursue your passion.

During our time with Al, he discussed a few highlights included in the Fox 2 morning broadcast, including a segment called Wine Wednesday. Check out the Wine Wednesday clip below to see what everyone is “wining” about!

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