PRfect Pitch focuses on interviewing media and key event managers who PR agencies pitch regularly on behalf of clients. As the name implies, successful pitching is a key ingredient in achieving results as a public relations professional.

The podcast discusses how and when to pitch a story to editors and producers who in turn learn which PR sources can be trusted to bring them interesting stories that resonate with their audience. 

Our 13th guest was Jefferson Graham, former USA Today tech columnist, host, and podcaster. He spearheaded the “Talking Tech” series until 2021 and is now the host of the travel photography series “Photowalks with Jefferson Graham” which streams for free on Tubi and he is also a current AARP contributor. 

This is Not Your Typical Workday

Jefferson broke down what a typical workday looks like for him and revealed how jam-packed his days truly are: he wakes up at 5 a.m. every day and works until 10 p.m. every night. During the day, he’s busy crafting newsletters, editing videos, or filming his series. 

As PR professionals, we have to be mindful and respectful of media members’ schedules, understanding that freelance journalists have less traditional workday structures than those working for national publications. 

Be Mindful of Journalists on the Move

Since Jefferson took his leave from USA Today earlier this year, he has shifted towards freelance journalism while also hosting and producing “Photowalks with Jefferson Graham.” 

As media relations specialists, it’s important to be aware of these kinds of career moves. If we reach out to Jefferson inquiring about a potential USA Today feature, the misinformation such a pitch is based on will prompt him to ignore it and that will damage the potential relationship from the start.  

Automation Pitching is Fodder for Mockery

Jefferson admitted to getting hundreds of pitches sent to his inbox every day and can easily recognize when they’ve been sent by a human being versus a machine. He doesn’t direct them directly to his spam box, mostly because he enjoys getting a little laugh from the horrendous pitches he finds as he sifts through the hundreds of automated emails he gets daily. 

The point? We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: blast pitching doesn’t work. It’s offensive to the journalists you are trying to reach and takes away the MOST IMPORTANT aspect of our jobs. That human touch, that authentic relationship, this is what differentiates the best PR pros. 

Journalistic Freedom Narrows Angles

Now that Jefferson has left USA Today, he has become much more selective about the stories he decides to write about. He limits himself to topics he is particularly interested in, and no longer answers to the ever-unsatiated needs of the USA Today media wheel. 

The takeaway here is that media relations specialists need to find ways to dig deeper into the specific interests of journalists like Jefferson Graham, to see if their stories truly align with their newfound writing independence. It’s not enough to go to his USA Today column archive and see that he’s covered Microsoft in the past. The question becomes, would he be interested in covering it now? Because the answer is, most likely, no. So why waste everyone’s time? 

Do your research, know your targets. 


Do you have tips and tricks for PR professionals that you want to share? Whether it be about pitching, media relations, podcasting or more, we’d love to hear your thoughts! Drop a comment on this interview with Jefferson on YouTube, which can be found here

You can also listen to this season of PRfect Pitch via Apple Podcasts, or your preferred podcast platform.