Ashley Heimbigner

Working With Media

Tips for Working with Travel Journalists

Visit Anchorage works closely with visiting travel journalists to help amplify Anchorage and all of its travel offerings for national and international audiences. Through media pitching, planning on-site visits as reporters research and report, providing fact checking and background research, and by coordinating interviews with industry pros, Visit Anchorage works to make sure there's plenty of positive coverage for Anchorage. Working with media covering Alaska travel - either Alaska-based reporters or visiting journalists - can bear outsized benefits. But it also requires planning, preparation, and clear boundaries. Here are some general tips from Visit Anchorage developed through our work with journalists over many years.

  1. Know Your Audience (and Theirs)

    Whether you plan to pitch you business to a media outlet, are planning a press release, or are responding to an inquiry sent by the journalist, it pays to do your homework first. What outlets do they work for or with? Are they on staff, or do they mainly freelance? Is there an assignment already, or are they prospecting for future story ideas. What subjects do they write about regularly? Even something as simple as medium or mediums the reporter works in (TV/video, print, photography, web) will shape how the story is reported, and how you should prepare the approach.
  2. Quality Beats Quantity

    It's often more effective to zero in on specific outlets and journalists with your pitches or press releases than it is to send them to as many outlets and people as possible. Targeting pitches and press releases show you've done your research and think your news might be especially relevant for this particular reporters.
  3. Give the Whole Story

    Make the journalist's job as easy as possible: Put the most important information up front, and write in "inverted pyramid" style, working in less vital details further down. Include a quote from the company officials or other relevant parties, and provided photo and video resources they can use (if available). Finally, include contacts detail for more information, and be sure to respond promptly if they do follow up.
  4. Timeliness Counts

    Journalism is a deadline-driven business, even for leisure travel stories. Respond promptly and with as much information as is needed. It can be the difference between coverage and no coverage.
  5. Know Your Comfort Level

    If you're asked to do something beyond your business, if a request is simply outside your comfort level, or if something just feels fishy, it's okay to politely decline the opportunity or idea. Be clear about what you can or can't do.
  6. "I don't know, but I can find out."

    Don't speculate. Don't make stuff up. It's likely that claims made in the moment will be fact-checked later. You may be a travel expert, but no one knows everything, and it's completely reasonable to let the reporter know when you don't have the answer.
  7. Let Visit Anchorage Do the Lift

    Keep Visit Anchorage informed of all your recent company news, changes or additions to your product, property or offerings. Sharing member news helps keep Visit Anchorage's own pitches and media relations work fresh and up-to-date.

For local media, Visit Anchorage provides members with access to Anchorage and Alaska media lists upon request. Since contacts, phone and email addresses for news media change frequently, contact your membership representative for assistance.