Engaging the Media: How to Get Attention and Influence the Story You Want Told


Elissa Carpenter, Reporter/Producer, CBC Radio/Television Calgary
Sage Pullen McIntosh, General Manager of Community Relations, Calgary Humane Society


In the age of digital news and social media, the traditional news organization has had to evolve to keep up with a 24 hour news cycle, shorter attention spans, multiple news options and the consumer’s immediate need for information. What was once large newsrooms stocked with editors, writers and producers has morphed into smaller, often satellite newsrooms, where the reporter, photographer and producer are now one and must work tirelessly to find, prepare and share news content among multiple platforms, meeting even tighter deadlines. What is a negative for the traditional news team can be considered an opportunity for those looking organizations looking to get some good press.

This 45-minute presentation will be two-fold. The first half will be delivered by a Communications Manager and will focus on how to create a good news pitch, including packing it for all news platforms and formatting a press release that will actually be read by an assignment editor, how to handle the media once on-site and how to shape the interview to create a news story that best reflects your organization.

The second half of the presentation will feature advice and examples from a news reporter on how your organization can work well with the media, how you can develop relationships with the media for future news opportunities and how to put your best 'organizational foot' forward.


  1. How to create a press release that will get a newsroom’s attention from headline to the best times of day to release it in order to increase your organization’s chances of getting you story picked up.
  2. How to handle the media and shape the interview to best reflect your organization even if the story they are covering may be perceived as negative. This includes how to handle the surprise question!
  3. How to package your story for all platforms to ensure radio, online, TV and bloggers get what they need and are more likely to work with you again in the future.


After completing her broadcasting diploma at Mount Royal University, Elissa Carpenter went to work in Lloydminster at CKSA as a reporter and videographer. She then moved to Saskatoon to work for CTV and transferred to CTV Calgary in 2000. Elissa was drawn to the news business because every day brings something new, and she loves to be the one on the street compiling and communicating the information as it happens. Elissa took a brief break from news and worked for the BC Government as a Communications Specialist but her love of news brought her back and she joined the ranks of CBC News Calgary in 2017.

Sage Pullen McIntosh joined Calgary Humane Society in February 2015. Previously, Sage spent 16 years working in both radio and television news as a reporter, anchor and producer. Her most recent role was at CTV Calgary as a news reporter and Senior Producer for CTV Morning Live. Sage holds a diploma in Broadcasting from Mount Royal University and a Master's of Arts in Professional Communication through Royal Roads University. Sage's passion involves strategic and crisis communications and helping organizations create effective communication strategies both internally and externally.