We have been reaching out to journalists and media professionals to chat with them about their experiences in the industry working with PR professionals and what’s going on ‘Around the Press’. For our latest edition, we had the opportunity to interview Meghan Grant, reporter with CBC Calgary for the past 10 years, specializing in court and crime reporting for seven of them. Grant is originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and holds degrees in Sociology/Criminology and Journalism.
Twitter – @CBCMeg
1. What story are you most proud of?
“Holy heck, that’s a tough one. I did a lot of work on the Alex Radita murder case. Alex was a 15 year old boy who had diabetes and despite having almost killed him a couple of times by refusing to treat his illness, his parents Emil and Rodica Radita continued to fail to medicate their son until he died in 2013 weighing just 37 lbs. Police didn’t release many details at the time of his death and it was about a year before his parents were charged with first-degree murder. During that year, I was able to get information from sources that Alex had once been seized by social services, returned after a year with a foster mother who got him healthy and chubby before his family fled B.C. to Alberta. In Alberta where they lived for years, Alex never saw a doctor and never attended school It exposed failings within the child welfare and education systems and sparked calls for change.”
2. What tips would you give someone pitching you?
“Keep it short and don’t bury the lede. I get emails every week from people wanting me to do stories on them. Sometimes people will just send me court documents which can be frustrating. It’s time consuming to have to do a bunch of reading to figure out what the story is about. I need to know right away why I should care because that really translates to why the public should care/read the story.
I also need to know what’s available in terms of information. Do you have documents to backup your story? Are you willing to do an interview? Are there great photos or video involved?”
3. What piques your interest/curiosity about a story?
“A human element is always helpful. For example, a judge recently summoned me to his courtroom because he wanted a story to be done on the lack of services for teens (particularly drug addicted teens). It was a good and relevant topic but to elevate it to a level where people care, there has to be a real person attached to the story.
When I’m covering court, it’s always best if I have a victim or their family member to interview so that people can connect. Think of it like this, which story would you be more likely to read:
“Steve Clark says he braved a winter storm and a three hour drive because he needed to come face to face with Bob Smith, the man accused of murdering his son…” or
“Bob Smith made a brief court appearance Monday…””
Thanks for talking with us, Meghan! Have a story you would like to share? Let us know on Twitter at @PRTheAgency or in the comment section below!