If you want to use the power of PR to promote your photography business, then you need to start building relationships with journalists. In this article, I’ll be sharing how to find journalists’ contact details so that you can be reaching out to them with your news, stories and photography.

Journalists, editors and producers are the gatekeepers when it comes to getting you and your photography business mentioned in the press.

So, whether you want to be featured in a news article or editorial, on a blog, or on a radio station, podcast or TV programme, a great place to start would be to identify who are the key people who write or curate content for that platform. Then, find their contact details.

Can you get featured in the media if you don’t know any journalists?

Before I get into the tips though, I’d just like to reassure you that it’s entirely possible to ‘cold’-pitch a journalist; to look up their contact email address and get in touch to share a story or some news.

Many PR agencies would have you believe that it’s not possible to do your own PR. They claim that PR is all about the little ‘black book of contacts’, and that the relationships with journalists that you need in order to be successful with PR cannot be developed from scratch.

But, I believe that this is complete rubbish and it’s a myth within the PR industry spread by those who want to safeguard their own interests!

Yes, an established relationship with a journalist can help to get your PR pitches looked at. A familiar name usually stands out in an overcrowded inbox and may lead to your email getting clicked on rather than ignored.

But it’s absolutely possible to pitch a story to a journalist who has never heard from you before and to secure interest in your idea, even if you are new to PR.

Pitching to journalists

PR isn’t rocket science, although there is considerable skill in crafting your story and pitching it successfully to the right publications at the right time.

When it comes to pitching to journalists, the thing you need to remember is that they are simply interested in whether the story you’re pitching is a good one, whether it would interest their publication’s target audience and whether it’s timely and interesting.

How to find journalists contact details

How to find journalists’ contact details

Build a target media list

So, knowing that journalists are the gatekeepers, and knowing that it’s entirely possible to do your own PR, the next stage is to start building your target media list.

A media list is simply a list of outlets or media publications which you are considering approaching with your stories and news.

Related reading: PR 101: Using the media to promote your photography business

Let’s assume that you’re keen to build awareness of your photography business in your local area. It that case, you’ll naturally want to start by considering what publications are produced locally or are aimed at local people. What media do they read, watch or listen to?

Not sure?

  • Look around when you’re out and about in your local area

Keep an eye out in coffee shops and pubs, in high-street shops, in libraries. There are likely to be free community publications as well as local newspapers lying around. Make a note of their names and flick through them to get an idea of the kind of stories they cover.

  • Search online

A simple Google search will help you to identify local publications. Simply type in “newspapers xx (your area)” in Google search and repeat for different types of media including magazines, radio shows, podcasts etc.

Most media outlets, if not all, will have a website and usually at least one reference to their contact information which will reveal how you might be able to get in touch with them.

But a word of warning – do make sure that the publications you uncover are still actively publishing. Now-extinct publications may well pop up in your online search so do always check when they published their latest article to ensure that they are still relevant today. There’s zero point in pitching to a now-defunct newspaper or magazine!

  • Ask those who you consider your ideal clients

Ask your clients and ideal clients what local newspapers or magazines they read. Which radio stations and shows do they listen to? Which TV programmes? What websites do they go to for local news?

Knowing what media your ideal client consumes is really important. It’s well worth the time finding this out so that you can be sure you are targeting the publications that might get you visible among people like them.

Then, with some media titles, websites and programmes on your target media list, your next job is to look up who are the relevant journalists or editors for you to target on each of those.

Related reading: How to attract more of your ideal photography clients

A side note on job titles

The Editor is usually not the best contact for you as they will have over-arching responsibility for a publication rather than be responsible for creating individual stories. That said, every publication is unique and an editor or section editor (such as the Business Editor or News Editor) may also write articles.

Who is the right journalist contact for your particular pitch will depend entirely on a number of variables including how many staff work on each publication and the patch that each person is responsible for.

It’s not uncommon these days for journalists to have wide-ranging roles that see them involved in many different sections of a publication. Whereas back in the day, an editorial team may have consisted of many journalists for one publication, that now may have diminished to just a handful of journalists covering a variety of stories.

So, don’t assume anything at this stage about the role that a journalist plays on a particular publication. Keep an open mind and keep editors names, as well as staff writers, details on your list for now.

How to find journalists’ contact details

Use Twitter to find journalists’ contact details

Once you have a basic list of media you’d like to target, you can gain a lot of useful insight from Twitter.

Twitter is a popular journalist hangout and you are likely to find the contact details of many journalists on there.

You can use Twitter to:

  1. enhance the research you’ve done up until this point – so, to find publications to target
  2. to identify which journalists you need to speak to on a particular publication
  3. and, to locate the email address of a specific journalist.

Use the search bar within Twitter to search for publication titles or geographic areas, and filter the results by ‘People’ which is one of the options along the top.

Also try searches with hashtags included, for example, the name of your local area (in my case #bournemouth) and see who is writing about your home town.

Twitter on smartphone with coffee

Since the majority of journalists want to be contacted by people like you with news and stories, they share their email address online and usually in their Twitter account bio or within their tweets when they do a call-out.

Once you’ve found a journalist on Twitter, look at their profile and if you can’t see their email in their bio, scroll through some of their most recent tweets and see if you can locate it there instead.

Alternatively, some journalists prefer to ‘open their DMs’ – meaning that you can private message them directly on Twitter.

On their Twitter profile, if you see the email symbol near the top, it means that you can DM them by clicking that and it’ll open up a messaging window. Use this feature with caution. Journalists won’t want to be spammed by people they haven’t asked to hear from. Only use this feature if you really have something of value to share or you have been invited to message them privately.

Related reading: Don’t miss this free PR tool which will help you to get featured in the media

More tips on how to find journalists’ contact details

In no particular order, here are some other ways to find journalists’ contact details:

  • LinkedIn

If, after searching on Twitter, you are still searching for the email address of a journalist then you could also check their LinkedIn profile. Many journalists are also on Instagram and may publish their contact information on there.

  • Websites

Also, if you haven’t already, check the website of the publication they work for.

Even if you fail to locate the email address of the exact journalist you are after, at worst you’ll likely find a generic news@(publication name).co.uk address or something similar. If this is the address shared on their website, it will be being checked regularly, so it’s well worth going down this route if you’re at a loss as to how to get in touch with a specific journalist.

Be aware though, that your email may be more likely to slip through the net if you send to a generic email address. It’s always better to try and get an email address for a specific individual if you can.

Photographer working on a laptop

  • Look in the publication or contact them

If you’re trying to target a printed publication, get hold of a recent copy and check the contact details that are printed in there. There is usually, at the very least, the name of the editorial staff.

If no email addresses are published there, you could also call the publication on the phone and ask for the email address. I spent much of my time, in my first job as a junior PR executive, calling publications to ask for journalists’ contact details!

  • Try an email finder search tool

I’ve heard great things about the email finder tool Hunter.io so this could well be worth a try.

  • Use your intuition

Finally, if you are still searching for journalists’ contact details with no avail, use your intuition. Have a guess at the email address based on the email address format you have for other people who work there. Many publications follow a firstname.lastname@publishername.com format, or similar.

The worst that will happen if you get the email address wrong is that you’ll get a bounceback and will need to try again.

Good luck in your search! I hope that you’ve found these tips about how to find journalist’s contact details helpful?

If you’d like more tips like this, sign up to my fortnightly ‘Content Connection’ emails and receive free access to my growing resource library which includes PR and marketing checklists, templates and worksheets exclusively for professional photographers. Sign up here or click the image below. 

Related reading: PR 101: Using the media to promote your photography business

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