May 16, 2014
Article by neffknows_admin

The Pros and Cons of the Exclusive

With the growing popularity of social media as a news source, and the consumers’ desire for instantaneous information, we have to stop and question the industry – is the ‘exclusive’ still relevant? Are people still going out and purchasing a newspaper for the ‘big scoop?’

I know my journalist friends are probably vexed by these questions, but as a seasoned PR pro, I can’t help but question how sustainable the notion of exclusivity is in today’s media landscape.

So before you go throwing your favorite news outlet the first look, check out this list of pros and cons:


  • The exclusive is a strategic way of targeting high profile outlets/reporters who will only cover a story if no-one else is – and this runs true for some of Philadelphia’s most influential reporters, think The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Michael Klein or Karen Heller.
  • Offering the exclusive is a strategic way to build a relationship with said reporter. And we all know that building a strong rapport with a high profile writer may help with future pitches.
  • It is often possible to secure a more significant editorial piece by offering a publication or a writer the exclusive – versus a small mention in a round up or relevant column.


  • Perhaps exclusives have had their day? Think about it, with the ever-growing popularity of social media as a news source – anyone, even the client, can inadvertently break news before a journalist has had time to get the story approved by their editor. Is it even feasible for journalists to expect the exclusive with the viral nature of social media?  I’m just not sure.
  • Putting all your eggs in one basket can often backfire in the event of breaking news. If a bigger, better, more-timely story comes along, there is always the risk that your story will get bumped.
  • Is an exclusive in one publication more beneficial than numerous features in a variety of publications?

As the newsrooms shrink and the media landscape evolves, the future of the ‘exclusive’ is probably not dead. Yet. But what is becoming more and more important, is that as publicists, we must assess each PR initiative on a case by case basis AND adequately research the news source and writer before pitching away willy nilly!

In DEATH to the MASS PITCH, yours,

Kylie Flett