Early in 1991, when I was working for KMOL TV in San
Antonio, I had lined up a feature story about a captivating,
90-year-old gentleman who had literally fought in the
trenches in World War I. Despite a hip replacement, he was
still very active, and participated in a weekly bowling
league for seniors.
I had worked with the assignment editor at KMOL to get a
crew ready to shoot the story around ten o’clock on a
Dozens of this man's relatives and bowling buddies showed up
at the center that morning to see us do his story. His name
I got to the site around 9:30. By 10, no crew had arrived.
I went to the snack bar to call the station and find out
what had happened (this was before cell phones).
On the way in, I glanced at the TV behind the bar. I
understood right away what had happened.
The ground war in the Gulf was getting underway.
Anything that wasn’t ‘hard’ news was put on hold as the
station devoted all it's resources to covering the local
impact the war would have on our community.
I had to go back and explain to everyone who came to see us
shoot Henry's story that we wouldn’t be able to do it that
morning. There was a lot of disappointment.
We did eventually get the feature shot and aired, but it was
after the war had ended.
My point is this. Sometimes even great news releases aren’t
productive. It has nothing to do with the quality of the
story you’re pitching or the release itself.
Then sometimes, even a horrid release can get a response.
It might just be a slow news day, or your story might strike
a personal chord of some kind with the media decision-maker.
Or the subject matter of the release might just be so timely
that it can’t be ignored. There's just no telling some
The important thing is to start working at it. Keep
putting releases in front of the people who make decisions.
They’ll start to respond.
Drive in a flood of new traffic, sell more products and
services than ever — and maybe even make yourself famous in
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