Roundtable Q&A with WSJ Reporter Tom Fowler



Last week, Wall Street Journal energy reporter Tom Fowler visited the Pierpont Houston office for a roundtable discussion on how to most effectively interact with the bellwether publication of the international business community. Part of our firm’s ongoing professional development series, the Q&A also brought together our Austin, Dallas and San Antonio offices, who participated virtually via video conference. 

Through the discussion, Tom painted a clear picture of how the Wall Street Journal approaches its news coverage, and gave us a better understanding of the relationships between the Houston bureau, New York headquarters and the Dow Jones newswire. The interactive discussion uncovered key strategies for creating a more effective Wall Street Journal conduit for our clients.

Here are some of the top takeaways for working with both the Wall Street Journaland the media at large: 

Keep it Simple – When it comes to pitching, simplicity is key. Sometimes the most compelling pitch isn’t buried in elaborate language – it’s in the facts. As reporters are tasked with writing more stories and meeting shorter deadlines, brevity and clarity are critical to capturing interest. 

Make it Exclusive – Consider quality over quantity. When releasing breaking news, there is a big premium on offering exclusive access to the right reporter. Securing an opportunity with a key reporter at a highly targeted publication can provide more effective coverage than blanketing the media with a press release. 

Tap into Social Media – While reporters are still polarized on the usefulness of receiving pitches via Facebook and Twitter, they are using social media to identify key trends and potential story ideas. Reporters are more likely to pay attention to companies’ social media platforms that offer thought leadership and initiate meaningful conversations about industry issues. 

Tie it into a Trend – Company profiles in the Wall Street Journal are hard to come by unless you’re a household name. Instead, identify important trends within your client’s industry that could position them as experts in their fields. Story ideas with broader scope and wider implications have a better shot at making it into print than isolated company-focused pitches. 

Be a Good Source – The quality of a source can make or break a story. The best sources are punctual, available, up-to-date and knowledgeable of the subject at hand. Other important qualities are the ability to speak frankly (without any spin) and – again – exclusivity. 

What are some media relations best practices that you keep top-of-mind? Share your thoughts below.