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Keep it Light When Pitching Lifestyle Media

“People want to wake up and laugh,” observed Joe Pardavila, producer of WPLJ-FM’s The Big Show With Scott & Todd. Aside from humor, stories that make people feel good also stand a better chance of breaking into the lifestyle sections of media websites, radio and television shows. That was the consensus at a panel that included Pardavila and other editors and producers from the lifestyle beat.

They appeared at a Publicity Club of New York event on Wednesday featuring New York Daily News’ website, Fox 5’s Good Day New York, HuffPost Women and BuzzFeed Shift. The panelists advised on pitching tips and faux pas to avoid.

Since New York is a market saturated with news and events, the local media outlets emphasized that the bar is high for what will capture the audience’s interest. As Lindsay Goldwert, editor at New York Daily News website’s Living section cautioned, their stories need to pass the “Get out!” or “Seriously?” test.

All five speakers also provided a snapshot of their media brands.

Good Day New York airs for 5.5 hours in the morning. “They’re all local segments, and they run the spectrum,” executive producer Jason Hartelius explained. So don’t send him invites to cover an event in Alaska, as recently happened. Instead, send pitches with catchy subject lines, such as “Hugh Laurie trades his stethoscope for a piano” as a heads-up that the actor is performing in concert in New Jersey.

NewYorkDailyNews.com’s Living Section is for and about women. “I only care about what’s happening right now,” Goldwert noted, and she often focuses on the “next day bounce stories where readers can have an intelligent conversation.” Some articles deal with health and celebrity ailments, such as chef Paula Deen’s diabetes. “Pictures are more important than ever,” she added.

The Big Show With Scott & Todd is a morning radio show featuring a duo that has been together for two decades. They target female listeners aged 25 to 54. Pardavila spent more time promoting radio as a medium, which he noted is a good way to reach suburbanites commuting by car.

HuffPost Women launched a year ago, and editor Margaret Wheeler Johnson said they cover a mix of national stories, including news, relationships, health, culture, personal advice and opinion, along with one essay each day from a non-professional writer. For factual claims, they need the supporting links, and pitches packaged with photo slide shows are encouraged.

BuzzFeed Shift is the site’s female lifestyle section, featuring articles about style, beauty, health, fitness, food, careers, relationships and celebrities. Editor Amy Odell wants content that’s “not pretentious, but is relatable and hilarious.” She also looks for celebrities and experts who add news value to the story.

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