Between You and MEdia… with Ayana Jones

As PR professionals, we all know the importance of building meaningful relationships with members of the media – reporters, producers, assignment editors, etc. But how does that happen, and where do you start? 

In this new section of the PPRA blog, PPRA members will share insight, tips and tricks, and fun facts learned from members of the media through informal interviews. You won’t have to wait for our “Media Mingle” or “Editors Panel” to get your tough questions answered and connect with the media. Our goal with this blog section is to continue engagement with our media counterparts in an informative and fun manner. So, between you and me – enjoy!


First published in 1884, The Philadelphia Tribune is the nation’s oldest and continuously published newspaper of the African America community. While the publication has a small staff, the outlet is supported by a strong digital presence, several trademark events, and consistent and accurate reporting.  The Tribune’s longtime business reporter, Ayana Jones, chatted with Bellevue Communication’s and PPRA Blog Co-Chair, Samantha Byles, for this edition of Between You and MEdia.

A native of Philadelphia, Ayana moved to the Virgin Islands with her family in high school. She attended the University of Virgin Islands, where she focused on communications and journalism. After a stint with a local publication, she returned back to Philadelphia, and started her launched her career with The Philadelphia Tribune.

AyanaJv2

Ayana Jones, The Philadelphia Tribune

How did you get started?  “I started off at the Virgin Islands Daily News, where I worked as an editorial assistant.”

What did you find different about the news culture in the Caribbean vs. here in the states? In Philadelphia? “I don’t think that the news culture is that different in the Virgin Islands vs. the states, other than the coverage being hyper local. The local news outlets highlight news that is happening locally in the community, politics, the educational system, and the business sector. They also run stories about major news occurring stateside and other Caribbean islands.”

What advice would you give PR professionals looking to pitch you? “As a business and health reporter, I am often pitched stories about particular products. I am not interested in product-driven stories, my interest lies in writing personalized stories that are impactful.”

Take us through your story process – What elements do you look for when determining if it a story? Where do you start? “There are a number of elements to consider when determining whether something is a story. I typically look for interesting stories that will resonate with the Tribune’s readership. I try to put a human element to my stories. I often start with the answers to these questions – Is this an issue, person or platform that my readers would care about? Why should people care? How important is the issue? Does this person have a story that would resonate with others?”

What’s your favorite piece that you’ve worked on? “I did an article in 2016 highlighting how Philadelphia is battling the lead poisoning crisis. I enjoyed working on this piece because it highlighted how lead poisoning is impacting children and the measures being taken to address the problem.”

Can you share a fun and interesting fact about yourself? I am a crafter who enjoys creating cards and other items.

Best way to contact Ayana? Via email, ajones@phillytrib.com

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