Journalist Alerts: Q & A with Chris Doyle, ATTA Vice President & Editor,

16 March 2011

Assistant Editor's Note: The following Q&A is with Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) Vice President  & Editor AdventureTravelNews™ Chris Doyle, elaborating on the member-only media alert service the ATTA performs among its PR & Marketing outreach.

[caption id="attachment_6772" align="pull-right" width="200" caption="ATTA's Chris Doyle outlines the Media & Journalist alert system"][/caption]

How does the ATTA journalist alert system work?

The ATTA has long-established relationships with travel journalists worldwide, and is regularly adding new writers to its journalist network. Journalists have come to recognize that the ATTA membership represents a treasure trove of adventure tourism industry experts, leads on new product, services and itineraries, leads on new and emerging adventure destinations, and as a key resource for adventure tourism research and trends. And, while the ATTA responds to many journalist trends and research questions, it relies mostly on its active members to respond to media queries.

Journalists contact the ATTA with specific needs on a regular basis - media queries ebb and flow year round based on editorial timetables, trends affecting coverage of our sector, news that affects the world of adventure travel and so on. The ATTA team assesses each media opportunity. We gauge the relevance of the query, the influence of the writer and the media outlet, determine the focus of the query, the deadlines, etc., and then work with the journalist to write up a briefing on the query.

This briefing is then distributed to the appropriate ATTA member network - if it's about a specific adventure activity (vs. a destination feature) and it has specific geographic criteria, then that query might go only to tour operators in that region. If it's about emerging destinations for a trend piece, it'll go to all ATTA member tourism boards - at national, regional and local levels. The types of queries vary on a daily basis - the ATTA's role is to help pair journalists with ATTA members to provide mutual value to each - so that journalists can hit their respective deadlines and so that members get increased chances of publicity for their organization.

Each Journalist Alert is distributed via email and most often are posted in The HUB, to increase the chances that members will see the opportunity.

What types of publications and media sources does ATTA have relationships with?

The ATTA maintains quality relationships from journalists worldwide, in trade/industry and consumer print, broadcast and Web-based mediums - both within the tourism industry and mainstream media. The 2011 Outside issue provided a major media hit for a significant number of ATTA members. How were they chosen among members, and what other major media "wins" have the ATTA journalist alerts been instrumental in achieving in the past?

The ATTA maintains no editorial control over the organizations that any given journalist or reporter covers.

The standard rules of Public Relations (aka, "PR") apply - if what you have is newsworthy, truly unique and/or innovative, stands out from any other concept, etc., your chances of coverage are increased. The ATTA's role is to help journalists mobilize resources to be CONSIDERED for stories - there are truly no guarantees that ATTA members will be included in a story. The variables are far too great to outline how members are chosen for stories. ATTA Journalists Alerts have provided countless wins for ATTA Members.

What can members do to increase their ability to take advantage of the ATTA Media Alerts?

ATTA Members must reply ONLY if they have something specific and relevant to add to the journalist's query - it is not an opportunity to pitch one's organization regardless of the query. It's important for the ATTA and its members to protect the integrity of this program to ensure journalists continue to approach us for support. The minute any organization takes advantage of the opportunity for something outside of the specific query, that's the minute the ATTA - and our members - are likely to lose the trust and respect of the treasured journalists. We ask that all ATTA members respect this trusted partnership. If an ATTA member is found to have stepped outside the stated norms above, the ATTA reserves the right to remove the member from the prized Journalist Alert system. Fortunately, the ATTA has not yet encountered this issue - we appreciate your commitment to this high-value program which has proven to generate high return on investment and international publicity for many ATTA members.

The members who are able to successfully respond to journalist queries are usually those who:

  • React quickly to only the appropriate Journalist Alerts - whether from email or by checking in the HUB
  • Specifically address the needs of the query - no more, no less
  • Truly stand out with their story because it is newsworthy, unique,  innovative, or covers a fresh concept
  • Make themselves readily available to the journalists
  • Are able to offer expert insight, images, video/film, data, client feedback, research, etc.
Crafting your responses with these ideas in mind will  increase your chances of being included in features. Many times, it's those who show up and deliver who are included since the media works on sometimes very trying and short deadlines.

Not an ATTA Member and want access to our Journal Alert system? Join Today!