Cheryl Beck, a freelance writer from Ray Township, Michigan writes:
“I have been wondering about the proper way to address journalists/editors. When I call and pitch, after a reporter answers, do I address them as they have introduced themselves? If you answered ‘Hello this is Joan’ do I say ‘Hello Joan I am…and calling from…’ or should I be more formal? Ms. Stewart?
“I have the same question regarding email. If I have not spoken to the person first, do I use Mr. and Ms.? If I have spoken to them, is using the first name appropriate?”
Cheryl, there are two schools of thought on this.
In my 22 years working in newspaper offices, I never once saw a journalist become insulted because somebody didn’t call them Mr., Miss, Mrs. or Ms. In fact, the only journalist who would probably insist you address her that way is Judith Martin of The Washington Post, a.k.a. Miss Manners.
Some PR people prefer the more formal approach when calling or emailing. As for the journalists, all they care about is whether you’re going to waste their time or give them a scoop.