Padilla’s Media Relations Consultants represent a group of agency professionals who are delivering top media relations strategies and placements for our clients. This team invests time and expertise to build strong news media relationships and craft engaging stories that build audience awareness and trust.
The Buzz Bin’s “On Deadline” series introduces you to members of this team with a short Q&A. Meet Koury Wilson, currently developing media outreach plans and providing media relations counsel and training to clients.
Q: How did you become interested in media relations?
A: Growing up, I’ve always been a news nerd. I admired news reporters and anchors much more than actors and actresses. I remember waking up and watching the news every morning before school – as early as eight years old. College is when I realized that while I didn’t want to be a regular on-camera talent, I could still generate impactful stories we see on television through public relations.
Q: What is a placement that makes you proud, and what did it take to get that story?
A: I’m still fairly new to Padilla, so I haven’t landed that huge success just yet. However, one of my proudest moments working at the Richmond Police Department was having the ability to give the community an understanding of the stories behind certain cases.
In early 2017, two teenagers – 15 and 16 – were killed during a triple shooting. After a year, detectives didn’t have any leads and asked how to make this story resurface and generate attention to garner tips and information. With help from the lead detective, the two mothers of the children agreed to on-camera interviews. I pitched all three local TV stations who agreed to cover the story.
These types of stories are hard because you’re watching families relive those moments right in front of you. Sometimes, the families of victims were afraid of retaliation. In those moments, you’re not just a media point person, you’re also comforting the families. We often watch the news and hear about victims of crimes, but never stop to understand their story. I feel privileged I had an opportunity to do this.
Q: Who is your favorite media personality and why?
A: Judy Smith! I’m not sure if she’s the “media personality” expected for this answer, but she’s an amazing woman who has had an amazing career serving as the press secretary for George H.W. Bush at 26 years old, she represented Monica Lewinski in 1998 (among MANY other famous clients. Google it! It’s fascinating), ANDDD…she’s the inspiration behind Scandal’s Olivia Pope.
I had an opportunity to meet her last month in Northern Virginia. She’s such a cool, approachable woman with tons crisis communication knowledge. I want to grow up and be like her one day.
Q: What is the best career advice you’ve received? Who gave you that advice?
A: I’m giving props to Padilla’s VP of Human Resources, Marie Carlson! She said something I repeat to myself every day: “Be patient with yourself.” It’s frustrating when you’re learning new things in a new environment and anxious to produce the best product possible in a timely manner. You want to be an expert in all the things! But even now I remind myself of her advice.
Q: What is your advice for a communication professional experiencing anxiety about pitching media?
Be yourself. There’s often this imaginary divide between PR professionals and journalists. Gauge their personality, be pleasant, and show knowledge and enthusiasm in your pitch. Also, humanize the reporter.
While I always remain professional, my style tends to be more conversational and informal. I want to learn more about the journalist and build a strong relationship not just for the story at hand – but the future as well. In the end, we’re all just people who are passionate about our jobs.
To talk with Koury about how she can elevate your media relations program, contact us.
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