When presenting my work at the Magnum Photography event in May it was suggested that I should contact the newspapers to pitch my photographic essay to picture desk editors. I considered what I could create as material to engage with the picture editors. I felt sending just an email would not be sufficient so I decided to create a number of supporting pieces of material. The first was a press release that told the story behind the exhibition this would provide the newspaper with between 60% and 80% of the basic information to create a short piece in the newspaper as the press releases contained 3 selected images from the exhibition. The second item attached was an invitation to the preview evening. I then created an introductory email of a few paragraphs to introduce the subject.
I then did some research using LinkedIn and the internet to find the names of picture editors at the broadsheets as I felt contacting a specific individual would allow me to make the introduction email more personal and secondly if I receive unsolicited emails that go to a generic email address they go lower down my priority list as I feel they have not taken the time to find out who about the person they are trying to contact. In a world where so much information is available online doing such research is easier today that 20 years ago when you had to rely on white books and yellow pages to try and connect with people.
I selected one person from each of the main newspapers: The Times, Telegraph, Financial Times, Guardian, Observer, Evening Standard and the Essex Chronicle (the weekly newspaper for Essex.)
After several proof reads the emails where dispatched.
The email to Emma Bowkett at the Financial Times generated an Out of Office reply though fortunately it provided an alternative contact name so I sent a new email to the named individual. The email to the Essex Chronicle resulted in a unknown email address response even though the name was on the newspapers website. Maybe a direct approach could be a solution as their office is only a few miles from my home.