Last week I was assigned a story on a new car sharing service starting up in Portland called Reach Now. It will compete with car2go for customers who do not have a car and need something for a short time, like an hour.
Its funded by BMW and started in Seattle about four months ago.
We'd received a couple press releases at the TV station letting us know it was coming. But the morning of the story the company had sent out notices that it had started, that day, a soft launch of the program. It did not send out a news release, just messages to people who were early adopters and signed up ahead of time for the service.
One of our news producers had done just that.
So, we figured, lets go test this service and tell the ReachNow story!
I got out of the morning news meeting around 10:15am and began calling all the contact numbers I could find for ReachNow as well as emailing people who appeared connected to the company.
My message was simple. We're doing the story, we are going to test the service, do you want to be part of it or not? I let everyone know my reports would air at 4pm, 5pm and 6pm that night.
Their official launch was two weeks away.
After sending out my messages, I went with the producer and a photographer and we reported the story.
At 3:30pm the local general manager called and said he'd heard I was looking for company input on the story.
I was indeed, five hours ago.
I asked a few questions over the phone and included a bit of his information in the story but it could have been so much better if someone in the PR chain or the company had moved faster.
Click the link for a sample of the story that night.
I know that outside the world of TV news it seems like we run at a pace that is silly. And you are right. But its the pace. If you are launching something and you want coverage be ready to respond.
Even when its your soft launch.