Interview by Joe Gargiulo, Senior Vice President, Coyne Public Relations
Treasurer & Sponsorship Co-Chair, PRSA NJ
Ivy Charmatz is the Emmy® Award-winning executive producer for news and special projects at News 12 New Jersey. She first joined the station in 1996, and currently oversees its production of specials, including the very popular “On The Road” series. She was the executive producer and co-writer of the ground-breaking special that took a powerful and emotionally charged look at the state’s heroin epidemic. A graduate of Rutgers, Ivy has also worked on nationally syndicated television programs and is an experienced public relations expert with an emphasis on message identification and development. Among all of her awards and accolades, Ivy is also the proud recipient of a 2012 Gracie Award for her story on Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Darlene Love.
What are some of your daily challenges in developing a story?
Every day, our mission is to tell the stories that matter most to the communities we serve. Our challenge is to not only find those stories, but deliver them in the most compelling and engaging way possible. That also means identifying what roles our website and social media might play in reaching our audience.
What information is essential for you to consider a ‘pitch’ from a PR professional?
The best pitches always include a “why” – why does this matter, why should people care, why is this worth mentioning. If you can convey the “why” when you pitch, you are giving us a reason to do the story and telling us how it has value to our viewers.
Think about your favorite PR professional – what has he/she done well to become an important resource for you?
Our favorite PR professionals are the ones who understand our tight deadlines and specific needs. They get back to us quickly and provide us with the information or quality interviews we need to tell a story. They also understand that we are a 24-hour operation…so those who are known to answer their cell phones off-hours are the ones we usually call first.
In your opinion, what can PR professionals do better?
I think everyone involved in this business is always trying to make sure we are reaching our audience. PR professionals can help by doing their homework to understand who our audience is and pitching the stories that support our mission.