Well if you're in a competitive niche, you have the funds then do what you can to get quality links...it's what I say. I wouldn't only do that as your method of link building or a pattern starts to emerge.
Approach US news to see if you can guest blog for them. It helps to have some sort of a writing portfolio already, so perhaps start writing in places where you can. I'd even do what you can to beef up the social marketing on those pieces of content. That way, you can be like hey, I write awesome content and it get's spread around a lot. That should perk the site owners right up!