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Jan 11, 2008

PR Interview: How to Pitch The Dallas Morning News

SUMMARY: The Dallas Morning News has won six Pulitzer Prizes in 11 years. Its website,, is the most visited local site online. Find out what kind of pitches the publication’s longtime business columnist favors.
Contact information
Cheryl Hall
Business Columnist
The Dallas Morning News
508 Young St.
Dallas, TX 75202


Hall has been writing for the newspaper since she was a summer intern in her senior year at Southern Methodist University, where she received a journalism degree. She has covered business in Dallas for 35 years and has been writing a general interest business column since 1992.

Circulation & Readership
Total average paid circulation, Sunday: 566,608; total average paid circulation, Monday-Friday: 404,652.

Typical readers are as likely to be men as women. Some statistics: median age: 33; 27% are college graduates; 69% are employed; 46% have a household income of more than $75,000; 79% own home; 65% are married; 45% have children in households; and 82% are white.
Source: ABC Report for 6 months ended Sept 30, 2006

Examples of Editorial Coverage
The business section covers personal finance, personal technology, stocks, airlines, workplace, jobs, real estate and autos. Besides the business section, the newspaper includes sections on life, travel, entertainment, sports, news and opinion.

Website boasts such accolades as Best Advertising Program, an EPpy Award for best new media services from newspaper, television and radio, and Best Internet News Service.

The website often features the same articles as those found in print, Hall says, but “the Web is shorter, faster.” Since there is a need for more immediacy, “reporters file spontaneously and update regularly.”
Visitors can subscribe to a variety of newsletters, including Business Breaking News, Computer Corner and Biz Insight.

The site also contains various Web 2.0 features:
Databases on education, people, places, legal, sports, lifestyles and entertainment:
- Technology
- Airline Biz
- Opinion

How to Pitch - 6 Tips
Tip #1. Squash the box and rip the envelope.
Hall’s column covers such typical topics as entrepreneurship and current business events, but she says she shuns the routine. “I like the funky and weird. I try to be unexpected.”

Tip #2. No orchestra required, but try to be entertaining.
When contacting Hall, send something that you would enjoy reading on a Sunday morning. “Don’t send me something that you would find boring and dull.”

Tip #3. You are more interesting than a marketing technique you’ve been testing.
Really. Hall doesn’t cover trends; she prefers to write about people. Her column focuses on business leaders and entrepreneurs for the most part.

Tip #4. Think of your pitch as a fun outline.
“Send me a short and to-the-point email telling me why you would read a story on this topic. If you wouldn’t, don’t bother.”

Tip #5. You say, “How are you?” They reply, “Howdy!”
Make sure to be relevant to the local community. Explain why somebody in Dallas would read it.

Tip #6. Reading fun columns equals doing research.
Take some time to familiarize yourself with Hall’s style, subject matter, interests. She hates when people pitch a story to her just because she is on some list they’ve been given by a client. If you don’t have a clue why she would be interested in your query, don’t waste her time and yours. “I’m fairly reachable, but time is my most valuable commodity, so I need it fast. I need the person to do their homework in advance and not use me as their research tool.”

Contribute to The Dallas Morning News
If you would like to pitch other columnists of the paper, you can find their phone numbers and email addresses here:

Press Kits
Press kits are “usually worthless at the pitch stage,” Hall says. If she decides to write about your story, however, “the packet is great because I can toss whatever I don’t need.”

Meet Hall
Face-to-face meetings take up too much time. If your pitch intrigues her enough, she might set up a telephone interview or lunch with your client.

See Also:

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