Evelyn Tipacti

    • Member Type(s): Content Publisher
      Media - Freelancer
      Media - Broadcast
      Media - Print Journalist
      Media - Other
    • Title:Community Editor
    • Organization:ProfNet Connect (PR Newswire)
    • Area of Expertise:Media Relations, Hispanic Media

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    Media Insiders Review Coverage of 2016 Political Conventions

    Thursday, August 4, 2016, 2:43 PM [Media 411]
    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    In recent weeks, we have seen the climactic Democratic National Convention (DNC) and Republican National Convention (RNC), with media from all over covering the speeches, protests, official nominations and everything else that comes with a political party’s convention. Each one had its share of drama with moments many of us are still seeing on the news or discussing via social media.

    Each convention had its pros and cons with regards to media coverage, so we asked people who attended the conventions for their eyewitness accounts, personal experience and overall thoughts regarding what they saw.

    Yasmeen Alamari, a political reporter for Rare who covers foreign policy and politics out of the White House and State Department, attended both the DNC and RNC and described some differences in how the conventions were organized.  “The logistics of the RNC at Quicken Loans Arena & Progressive Field offered a more concentrated space and made it much more practical to cover events both inside and outside of the venue. Because the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia was so spread out, there were big security buffers around the arena and floor passes were granted just for 30-45 minutes at a time, it made it more challenging to capture coverage in the time allowed.” 

    As for what could have been better at the conventions she said, “The RNC needed better organization. The organizers didn’t anticipate the depth of need for media in terms of packets, access and other logistics and practicalities. Despite the time delays of getting from one place to another for the DNC set-up, the DNC was well equipped with a media tent and provided a very organic way to interact.”

    She noted, “The logistics of the RNC allowed more comprehensive coverage with the ability to cover events, protests and floor proceedings pretty fluidly. With the DNC, you often had to cover floor activities in 35-45 minute increments. These conventions are very delegate centric, as you’d imagine. In the media we want to have access to everything the delegates have, but sometimes you must have an alternate plan should timing be an issue.”

    Yasmeen also indicated that “The DNC was well-equipped. The media tent with open desks provided a very organic way for journalists and sources to interact. As someone used to working in D.C. and making lots of phone calls to set up meetings with sources, convention coverage means more of looking at lots of badges and finding ways to connect for interviews or perspectives.”

    Michael Nieves, president and CEO of Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network (HITN), attended the Democratic National Convention and believes coverage of both conventions has improved with every election. “When I first started watching coverage 30 years ago, the media coverage consisted mainly of sliced down, bite-size video clips edited to deliver only the information the networks wanted their viewers to see. Thanks to the Internet, that doesn't happen as much. Media coverage - in general - has had to evolve to serve a much smarter viewership. Today’s viewers want more information and are also willing to invest the time to learn the subject matter. This is where most media coverage fails. It stops short of offering its viewership a true educational experience.” 

    However, Nieves also thinks there are some things that could improve. “I admit the larger networks have done a better job at pulling back the curtain on the complicated aspect of the Republican and Democratic conventions, events that are based entirely on parliamentary procedures and rules most people will never be aware of. But the coverage still only skims the surface. Most people rely on media outlets to get their information on the elections. So the responsibility falls on us (media) to provide coverage that digs a bit deeper in order to better inform our viewers.”

    The observations from these two media professionals gives those of us who were not able to be at the conventions as journalists a genuine look at what took place there and have shared how coverage has changed over time. Whether or not you attended the conventions, if you were watching from home or if you’re a journalist or not, we all have our opinions regarding how good or bad coverage was of the political extravaganza. If you attended, what are your thoughts? If you watched on TV, what did you think? We'd like to know.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

    Journalist Spotlight: Stacy Julien, CRUSH Fitness and AARP

    Thursday, July 21, 2016, 10:02 AM [Spotlight]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Welcome to our SPOTLIGHT feature, where we highlight a journalist and ProfNet user to share their personal story and insight with you.

    This month, we caught up with Stacy Julien, a journalist and editor with nearly 20 years of experience working in newspapers, magazines and on the web, including BET Interactive, AOL BlackVoices and Clever Communications.

    In her current role as executive online health editor for AARP, she provides web strategy for health content for AARP.org and serves as a point of contact for other AARP media platforms. She also recently launched CRUSH Fitness, a fitness and health destination for women of color ages 30+.

    Did you always know you wanted to be a journalist, or did you start off doing something else?

    I’ve wanted to be a journalist since high school. My first published story was a movie review for my high school newspaper. It was exciting to see my byline for the first time. I fell in love with the concept of sharing information with the public, being a part of an industry that tells people what’s going on in the world -- good, bad or ugly.

    Where was your first professional job in journalism?

    I got a job keeping the community calendar for my local newspaper, Prince George’s Journal. They weren’t hiring reporters at the time, so I took that job just to get in the door. Before long, I worked my way to the news desk as a general assignment reporter, then to covering county government. It was a great training ground for me.

    What do you like most about what you do?

    I love meeting fascinating people and finding how they do what they do and why. Because I’m passionate about health and fitness, I like sharing information that can help or inspire someone to make better, healthier choices about how they live.

    How did you come up with the idea to launch CRUSH Fitness?

    With all of the health information available online and on the newsstands, my partner and I saw a gap with the representation of women of color. We see women of color working out a lot on social media, but we didn’t see an authentic, well-done publication that spoke to them. We’re trying to be that destination. We’re literally a two-woman team with a small handful of writers! It’s hard work, but worth the effort. And I know it will pay off in time.

    What type of stories do you look for, for AARP and CRUSH?

    For AARP: great health-related stories aimed at the 50+ plus generation. We cover quite a bit, from brain health to nutrition to fitness to managing chronic pain. We like “surprising” information based on research.

    For CRUSH: health, fitness and nutrition tips, workouts from certified trainers, stories that highlight women of color with awesome transformation stories, beauty and hair tips and recipes. We’re open to edgy topics that women 30+ can relate to.

    What advice do you have for PR reps or for anyone who wants to pitch you a story?

    Get to know the publication and really sift the stories that have been recently done. For AARP, I often get story ideas that aren’t fresh or that aren’t for our audience. Also, pitches about products can work from time to time, but often don’t.

    What should they never do?

    Pitch a product. Legally, we can’t write a story about one product.

    How can someone in PR get to know you?

    An introduction by email is sufficient. I would ask about future topics that we’re thinking about to help with their pitching.

    What advice do you have for members who respond to ProfNet queries?

    Stay on the pitch. When I’m on a deadline, I only want to read responses that will help me achieve my specific goal at that time.

    What type of experts do you like to work with?

    For CRUSH: nutritionists, fitness experts with specialties in strength training, yoga, cross-training, pregnant women, therapists or life coaches, food bloggers, medical doctors.

    For AARP: experts in the areas of aging, caregiving, medicine, sleep, health and fitness, and nutrition.

    How do use social media?

    To promote the brand, stories, videos, quick tips. We also follow certain people on Instagram or Facebook to keep up with what’s happening or to get ideas.

    Can you tell us about one of your most unforgettable experiences as a journalist?

    Meeting Stevie Wonder is pretty high on the list, but I would say being on the launch team of BET.com in 2001 is most unforgettable. I was new to the web, and most of us were thrown into the fire. We worked long, ridiculous hours. But we built it from the ground up and watched it launch and grow. All of the team members have since moved on, but going through that experience is why we’re all very good friends and peers to this day.

    Do you have advice for someone just starting their career in journalism?

    Be nimble. Appreciate diversity. Network a lot, and don’t burn bridges. And if you don’t see the perfect job for you, figure out how you can create it on your own.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

    Breaking into Writing for Children and Families

    Wednesday, July 13, 2016, 11:39 AM [#ConnectChat]
    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    On Tuesday, July 12, we hosted our latest #ConnectChat, "Breaking into Writing for Children and Families," with our guest Karl Beckstrand, an award-winning author of 15 multicultural books and more than 40 ebook titles (reviews by Kirkus, School Library Journal, The Horn Book blog, ForeWord Reviews).

    Karl discussed finding ideas and inspiration, working with illustrators, finding a publisher, self-publishing, marketing your book and much more.

    Please follow @ProfNet and @ProfNetMedia on Twitter for more information on future chats or check back right here on ProfNet Connect for details.


    Can you please tell us about your background? 

    I was raised in paradise (San Jose/Silicon Valley) —the perfect climate, much like Valparaiso (Chile, where I lived for two years [LDS mission]). I have a bachelor’s in journalism (never planned to be a reporter) and a master’s in International relations. I teach media at a state college in Utah, and am an arts/media junkie (music, art, films, books, theater—oh, and history!)

    How did you begin your writing career and have you primarily focused on children’s stories since then?

    This was a complete accident, because I hated writing (and reading) as a kid. While I should have been doing homework in college, I would get ambushed by ideas for kid’s books and write them—thinking I’d get published when I retired from a “real” job.

    I joined a writer’s group and met a gentleman who wanted to publish one of my manuscripts. Unfortunately, he died the day we were to print. I got a crash course in publishing/marketing. One other publisher asked me to write a true story about an immigrant child. I knew about a girl in my family history who arrived here alone, not knowing English. I found the account—and then got hooked on family history. So, now I’m writing other true immigration stories. I have ideas for novels—but only one is published so far.

    What’s the first thing a writer with an idea for a children’s story should do (besides write it)?

    Hire a professional editor (even for kid’s books). They are affordable and will save you grief!

    Karl, where do you get your ideas and where can other writers find inspiration? 

    This is a hot button (for someone who works in perhaps THE most competitive genre). If you’re not constantly hit with ideas, then “I’d like to write a children’s book” is probably not justification for entering the field. My desk is covered with folders and papers filled with ideas that come at me all the time; things people say, scenarios that explode in my mind, phrases that have a fun meter ... I may never get them all published. 

    How can a writer find and work with illustrators? Should a children’s book be illustrated when you submit a manuscript?

    Only get an illustrator if you self-publish (which I recommend). Otherwise, find a good children’s lit agent and let the publisher to match your work to an artist. I find illustrators through networking (LinkedIn writer/illustrator’s groups, alumni groups, people whose work I’ve seen and fallen for—I just persuaded a genius artist I’ve been stalking for years to do one of my books!)

    Once you have your book written, how do you find a publisher?

    You must be unafraid to communicate (phone, mail, email, online, in person) and you must be unrelenting (but get an editor before you drive agents/publishers crazy—which you will. The idea is that when they finally look at your stuff, it’s wonderful).

    How is the process different with books for children and families compared to books for adults?

    I try to write to entertain adults--regardless of the target age range. They are the ones who are going to buy the book, and I don’t want them to cringe when a kid asks them to read a Karl Beckstrand book. I want them to get the humor that the child may not get. I want the parent/teacher/librarian to stay awake and read my books even when they are alone.

    Do you prefer having your books published by a publishing house or do you prefer self-publishing?

    What are the pros and cons of each? After learning so much from publishers (learning isn’t always a good experience) I realized that I would rather control content, MARKETING, and revenues. Publishers make lots of promises, but the author is—really--always the engine for fulfillment, even if a large publisher promises the moon. I don’t like to spend 50% of my time marketing, but I would have to do it even with Penguin-Random House.

    Once you have your book published, how do you market it, and does it make a difference whether it’s self-published or not?

    No big difference: you must post it on social media; do giveaways on goodreads, bookbub, Authorsden, Librarything (give it in exchange for a sincere online review—these are important); send press releases—and call the media afterward to see about being a guest/article subject; if you self-publish, Amazon’s Createspace.com can get you on the major distributors’ lists (but you must still contact distributors about truly getting your work in front of booksellers.

    I don’t usually pursue book signings for two reasons: Bookstores are not the best place to stand out, and, unless you have a large following in a particular city (which you might) you won’t sell a lot of books. Presentations to groups/schools are great.

    What are the biggest challenges in the publishing process?

    Getting reviews/getting your book noticed.

    Can you tell us about your latest novel?

    It’s Young Adult suspense set in the Nevada silver rush: To Swallow the Earth. It won a 2016 International Book Award (also a Laramie finalist). I inherited the manuscript from someone who grew up exploring the Sierra Nevada Mountains on horseback nearly a hundred years ago. My challenge was to develop the characters while preserving the action and authentic language.

    It’s about a man and a woman who clash in a land scheme that leaves both unsure who to trust—and scrambling to stay alive. In addition to a tough outcast (half-Mexican, raised by Indians), there’s a gutsy female who’s unintimidated in the worst kinds of opposition.

    How can a writer prepare for writing stories aimed at multicultural audiences?

    Yes, they’re not really aimed at a certain audience—they’re not even about racial diversity. They are exciting/fun stories that just happen to reflect the diversity of the world in a natural way.

    You speak Spanish?

    Yes, my mother spoke broken Spanish to us as kids, then living in South America made it my second language. I’m learning German.

    What are some of your future projects?

    I’m working on a graphic novel, an audio book, and more kid’s books.

    Where can we find your many books?

    Amazon/Kindle, Nook, PremioBooks.com, and the major distributors (Ingram, Baker & Taylor/Follett, Brodart, iBooks, Kobo, OverDrive, SCRIBD)

    How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?

    My books are my life laid out in color (my food obsession has found its way into most of my works).

    What is your writing schedule?

    I write or research every day—usually in the morning—though half of my work is marketing and business correspondence.

    Who were your early writing influences? Who or what has inspired you during your career and ignited your imagination?

    When I got the measles in the third grade, my grandmother bought me a chapter book: Bicycles North: A Mystery on Wheels by Rita Ritchie. I learned that books can transport and excite. I love Shel Silverstein.

    What is your favorite genre to read?

    I love suspense.

    Do you have a favorite comment or question from a reader? 

    I love it when someone says a book I wrote held them captive—or that the twists were totally unexpected.








    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query 

    Upcoming #ConnectChat: Breaking into Writing for Children and Families

    Thursday, July 7, 2016, 12:55 PM [#ConnectChat]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Our next #ConnectChat, "Breaking into Writing for Children and Families,” will feature Karl Beckstrand, an award-winning author of 15 multicultural books and more than 40 ebook titles (reviews by Kirkus, School Library Journal, The Horn Book blog, ForeWord Reviews).

    Raised in San Jose, CA, he has a B.A. in journalism from BYU, an M.A. in international relations from APU, and a broadcast & film certificate from Film A. Academy. Since 2004 he has run Premio Publishing. A college media instructor, Beckstrand contrasts traditional with digital book publishing. He has presented to Taiwan’s Global Leadership for Youth, city and state governments, libraries, festivals, and schools.

    Beckstrand's nationally lauded ebook mysteries, nonfiction, ESL/ELL Spanish/bilingual books, YA stories, wordless books, and kid’s picture book app feature ethnically diverse characters of color—and usually end with a twist. His multicultural work has appeared in: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Border’s Books, Costco, Deseret Book, iBooks, The Children’s Miracle Network, LDS Film Festival, U.S. Congressional Record, Papercrafts Magazine, and various broadcasts. premiopublishing.com, FB, Twitter, karlbeckstrand.com

    Karl will be discussing how to find story ideas for children, writing for a multicultural audience, getting your book published, promoted and out to the masses as well as differences between writing for adults and younger audiences.

    The chat will take place Tuesday, July 12 from 3 to 4 p.m. EDT.

    To submit questions for Karl in advance, please email profnetconnect@prnewswire.com or tweet your question to @ProfNet or @ProfNetMedia. We'll try to get to as many questions as we can.

    Of course, you can also ask your question live during the chat. To help you keep track of the conversation, we’ll use the #connectchat hashtag. Please use that hashtag if you are tweeting a question or participating in the chat.

    If you can't make it to the chat, don't worry -- a transcript will be provided on ProfNet Connect the next day.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

    Pitching to Business Media

    Monday, June 27, 2016, 6:21 AM [General]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    The Publicity Club of New York held a panel luncheon, featuring some of the leading journalists who cover business.

    A special thank you to Peter Himler, president of the Publicity Club of New York, who is the host of each event. Attendees are always provided with time to speak with the journalist panel after the discussion portion which makes PCNY luncheons one of the best networking events in the area.

    The business media panel consisted of:

    (Top Row)

    Jonathan Clark, Assistant News Director, WCBS Newsradio 880

    Tara Lynn Wagner, Anchor/Reporter, NY1 News

    Aaron Task, Digital Editor, Fortune

    (Bottom Row)

    Adrienne Toscano, Supervising Producer, Bloomberg TV

    James Ledbetter, Editor, Inc. Magazine

    Julie Zeveloff, Executive Editor of Insider, Business Insider

    Here are a few highlights from the discussion:

    Jonathan Clark, WCBS Newsradio 880

    Always looking for content and always looking to put stories on air. 

    They tell stories and don’t paint a broad brush and say “That’s a business story, we’re not going to do this or that.”

    They have a 9:30 a.m. block in morning drive called the Opening Bell Report, which is a half hour program. They include sports, but focus on the business of sports. The program also includes special business features.

    What are the stories you’d tell in an elevator? That’s what they want.

    At :25 and :55 they get updates from Bloomberg, but not to say they don’t have reporters covering different businesses.

    They have a segment called “Stories From Main Street,” which focuses on community stories, whether in Westchester, New Jersey or in the city. It’s about unique stories, about business or people doing good in the community, perhaps businesses or people that need a spotlight who never get it.

    For Bloomberg segment, pitch to Bloomberg directly.

    With regards to experts, introduce expert in advance of when they might be needed. It’s during a breaking story when an expert is needed, but it’s also the worst time to get pitches because the staff is focused on the story.

    They look for someone who knows what they’re talking about, sounds good and can speak in layman’s terms.

    Follows journalist Jill Schlesinger of CBS on Twitter

    Jonathan can be reached at jclark@wcbs880.com

    Tara Lynn Wagner, NY 1

    Tara is the Money Matters reporter.

    Covers primary personal finance, credit card debt, student loans, taxes, and retirement savings.

    At NY 1, they all consider themselves generalists but have a beat structure.

    80% of what she covers is regarding pocketbook and household issues.

    She focuses only on New York City but her pieces air nationally so subjects need to be in the NYC area. Pieces have to play to a wide audience across the country.

    Tara is less inclined to do features on a book, but if it’s possible to peg something happening in the news, then may increase chances of using author. For example, if there’s an interest rate hike and you pitch an author who just wrote a book on the subject, it may work, but the piece would not likely be on the book.

    Experts need to speak in user-friendly format to the lay person.

    Pitched can go directly to Tara and she will discuss them with her producer.

    To reach someone at NY 1, type their first name dot last name at ny1news dot com.

    Aaron Task, Fortune

    Aaron oversees the editorial strategy and operations.

    Staffers from the digital team write for the magazine and vice versa.

    Aaron is trying to bring some beat structure to organization.

    Fortune has generalists with subspecialties.

    They cover retail and now have healthcare and biotechnology, which is a new focus.

    A digital health newsletter is set to launch.

    Machine learning, artificial intelligence, how tech changes heavy industry also a focus.

    They have a weekly show called “Fortune Live.”

    Fortune does on-demand video segments and is launching a podcast called “Fortune Unfiltered” in July. The idea is to tell stories about a person’s personal journey who’ve had success in business but also have an interesting story, who’ve had obstacles and are willing to talk.

    When pitching, pitch the idea because it’s the least amount of work from the publicist’s perspective.

    Experts should be able to speak with authority.

    Aaron likes to follow David Faber of CNBC on Twitter.

    To reach staff, email first name dot last name at fortune dot com.

    Adrienne Toscano, Bloomberg TV

    Adrienne is head of global booking.

    “Global” is the key word for them.

    No “gotcha” journalism. You’ll get a smart conversation when you watch.

    Bloomberg has 2, 400 journalists, 150 bureaus in 73 countries.

    On the TV side they’re in 360 million homes worldwide.

    Bloomberg TV has many shows which are co-anchored globally. “Surveillance” is co-anchored from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. (ET) with someone in London. Another is co-anchored out of London and Berlin.

    They have more of an institutional audience.

    Bloomberg TV’s audience is the most affluent in cable television.

    Their target audience is people who make the decisions about where to move money.

    They’re the only business network that livestreams everything on their site and mobile apps.

    Bloomberg has had huge digital growth – in April they had 218 million video streams which is a 150% year over year increase.

    Adrienne’s staff books on behalf of the network but each show has their own bookers.

    You can pitch to Adrienne’s team and they will pass along.

    If she’s reading your email and if she’s already in the second paragraph and doesn’t know what the pitch is yet, she’s skipping. Give all the important details first.

    James Ledbetter, Inc. Magazine

    Inc. and Inc.com are two separate “beasts.”

    The magazine comes out 10 times per year with each containing 40 to 45 articles.

    Inc.com provides 80 pieces a day every weekday.

    The magazine focuses on entrepreneurship so it’s aimed at those running a small business, those starting a business, selling or investing in a business.

    Content is produced by staff or freelancers. They have a “tremendous” amount of outside contributors. Most pieces run are made by those who are not employees.

    The website has a larger audience with 15 million unique visitors. The magazine has a circulation of 700,000.

    What does well are personal productivity and self-help stories.

    They look for experts on law, marketing, leadership.

    It’s best to pitch an idea and he will respond if he likes it.

    Staff can be reached at first initial last name at inc dot com.

    Likes following journalist Joe Weisenthal of Bloomberg on Twitter.

    James says a story not covered enough is “The fragility of the Chinese banking system.”

    Julie Zeveloff, Business Insider

    Business Insider digital business publication target audience is the next generation of business leaders.

    They launched Tech Insider a year ago which is more commercial and targeted at a younger, gadget-loving audience. It focuses more on entertainment, science, innovation and design.

    Insider is focused on “Life is an adventure.” They cover lifestyle, travel, food, health, design, and human interest. Video on Facebook is big.

    They do 15 to 20 short social videos a day and just launched their website.

    Business Insider is refocusing in business coverage – markets, Wall Street, finance, retail, transportation, careers, and business strategy.

    Check the mastheads on each site for editorial staff contact information.

    Likes to follow Joe Weisenthal of Bloomberg on Twitter.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

    Journalist Spotlight: Michele C. Hollow, Freelancer and Author

    Thursday, June 16, 2016, 1:21 PM [Spotlight]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Welcome to our SPOTLIGHT feature, where we highlight a journalist and ProfNet user to share their personal story and insight with you.

    Michele C. Hollow works as a freelance journalist, editor, and author. She writes about pets, wildlife, the environment, and health.

    Her byline has appeared in The Guardian, Fusion, The New York Times, Parade, Family Circle, NY Daily News, DIYNetwork, and other publications. She is a regular contributor to YourCareEverywhere.com, where she writes about health.

    Her book, The Everything Guide to Working with Animals, was published by Adams Media. She wrote a middle grade biography on the Grateful Dead for Enslow Publishers and she and her son co-wrote a joke book about Minecraft for Sky Pony Press.

    Her blog, Pet News and Views, covers pet care, pet lifestyle, and the people who work with and on behalf of animals. Michele also uses Pet News and Views to get companies to donate products to animal shelters and rescues. 

    She is almost finished with her first middle grade novel and is looking for an agent.

    She lives in NJ with her husband, son, and two rescue cats. 

    We hope you find Michele's SPOTLIGHT enjoyable and informative. 

    Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be a writer or did you start off doing something completely different?

    Yes, I always knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had it down to two choices: writer or veterinarian. Later in my writing career, I started writing about animals.  

    Where was your first professional job as a journalist?

    I worked for a small daily in southern LA, which was a big change for someone growing up in the Bronx!

    How long have you been a freelance writer and how did you start your career?

    I've been freelancing for about 20 years. I worked FT as a reporter at Home Furnishing Daily, a Fairchild trade that covered the manufacturing and retail sides of home furnishings. After three years at Fairchild, I left for FT freelance work covering interior design. I queried Harris Publications (which just closed its doors) and got my first assignment. I wrote for several shelter publications.

    Your preference seems to be writing about animals -- can you tell us about your blog and any other projects you’re working on?

    It is! I've always loved animals. I took zoology courses at the Bronx Zoological Society when I was 13! I was too young to work and they let me into their program. When I have a keen interest in something, I work hard. Reading information about animals was something I enjoyed, and what was even better than that was being around animals. The zoologists were very generous with their knowledge.

    It took me a while to publish stories about pets and wildlife. I started writing about animals seven years ago. I wrote a book called "The Everything Guide to Working with Animals" for Adams Media. From there, I started writing my blog, Pet News and Views. I mostly wrote about animal welfare. I'm not blogging that much these days. Thankfully, I'm busy with other projects. I'm working on a novel and have steady assignments.

    I'm also writing two columns a week for a consumer health site called Your Care Everywhere. My focus here is to cover advice for caregivers and stories for parents of kids with special needs. My son has Asperger's, so it's a topic that I can identify with.

    What do you like best about what you do?

    I think of journalism as continuing education. You are always learning new things.  I know it's important to specialize, and I do. Yet, I've changed topics over the years. I started out writing about interior design, moved on to editing a bridal magazine, that led to travel writing, and then I got interested in health. I still, occasionally, write about interiors; that led to writing about pets in the home. From there, I moved on to wildlife and now I'm really interested in climate change.

    Many of the topics I've covered have jumping off points that connect to one another. Bridal led to honeymoon travel writing, which led to family travel. Interior design led to pets, which led to writing about other animals--farm and wildlife. I was able to transition to climate change by focusing on wildlife. See, it's all connected!

    I also like meeting people who work for and on behalf of animals. 

    What advice to do you have for PR reps or for those who may want to pitch you a story?

    I'm always looking for new health stories. If there is a new scientific study regarding childhood mental health, I'd be interested in hearing about it. Anything new on climate change is also welcome.

    What should they always do?

    Send a short press release or email describing the story.

    Never do?

    Don't send me info about products. I don't promote products. I get a lot of pet food and pet product releases, which I just don't cover. 

    How can someone in PR get to know you and develop a positive work relationship with you?

    Follow me on Twitter. I follow back. Read my articles to see what I cover. 

    Do you have advice for members who respond to ProfNet queries?

    ProfNet is good regarding no off-pitches. I really don't appreciate off-pitches. I'm on deadline when I post on Profnet, and don't want to go through a lot of emails that don't pertain to what I'm looking for. 

    What type of experts do you like to work with?

    For Your Care Everywhere, doctors, nutritionists, RNs, fitness experts, etc. who can tell me something that I can share with my readers about new medical breakthroughs--especially if it pertains to parents of special needs kids. 

    For climate change and wildlife, I know a lot of experts and am open to meeting new ones. I just need new angles on old stories or stories that haven't been reported on yet. Yes, I know you've heard that before. I'm just repeating what my editors told me over and over again!

    How do use social media?

    I like Twitter. I post my stories and stories that are of interest to me. I'm on FB, too, but am not as big a fan of that site. I also have my own LinkedIn site. It's for people who work or volunteer with animals. It's called Pet News and Views, after my blog. 

    Can you provide any tips for someone who’s thinking of becoming a freelance writer?

    If you're serious about a writing career, read. Study online sites and read articles of interest to you. Send queries to editors. You can Google "How to write a query letter." Join an online professional writers' association. I belong to ASJA (American Society of Journalists and Authors). Take a writing workshop in your town. 

    If you have a FT job, make time to freelance before you quit that FT job. Once you get your first few clips, the doors will open more easily.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

    Media 411: Tips for Assignment Editors

    Friday, June 10, 2016, 1:09 PM [Media 411]
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    Being a journalist is tough -- stress and responsibility are an everyday thing. Just ask any assignment editor. They’re the heart of a newsroom and where almost every story begins. They find the stories by fielding calls from the public, listening to scanners, reading news releases (yes, it still happens), plan the stories and assign them to a reporter. They’re producers and troubleshooters and also make the suggestions as to whether or not a story should be covered.

    I'd like to share a column from NewsLab titled “Advice for assignment managers,” and although it’s a few years old, what it offers still holds true today. Here’s an excerpt (with a link to the full article above) and one of the biggest takeaways from the piece:

    “As an assignment editor you will be constantly bombarded with questions and requests. It is not important that you know all things, it is important that you know how to find all things. The newsroom must have confidence that ‘you’re on it.’ They need to know that you are filling their requests. You should anticipate possible questions and requests they may have and begin working on them before the request is made. This will help to develop their confidence in you.”

    I also had the opportunity to speak with a veteran of the TV news business who’s been at it for two decades. He’s an assignment manager with one of New York’s most watched newscasts. He wanted to remain anonymous, but had some great advice for assignment editors everywhere:

    • Be very active on social media. Most videos, stories and tips are born in a social media site.  
    • Be proactive and not reactive. Anticipate a story by preparing contacts, interviews and other sources
    • Always watch the competitors.
    • Know your market. Focus stories to your market.   
    • Create build and maintain good contacts in key places.  

    What other bits of advice do you have? Please let me know in the comments below. 

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

    Tips for Journalists on Approaching People Affected by Tragedy

    Thursday, May 12, 2016, 2:36 PM [Media 411]
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    Covering tragedies is part of the job when you’re a reporter. It’s never something reporters like to do, but there’s no escaping it. If there’s been a homicide, you cover it. If there’s a fire, you cover it. You’ll likely encounter relatives of the victim, someone who’s lost their home, or someone else whose life has just been turned upside down.

    Speaking to people who’ve either lost loved ones, witnessed a tragedy or who were involved directly in some way whether it be through a natural disaster, murder, fire, accident or something else, need to be spoken to carefully. It’s something that fills you with dread but it’s always part of the assignment. It breaks your heart. You’re human, although some may feel you’re not since you have such “nerve” to ask someone who’s been devastated how they’re feeling and sticking a microphone in their face.

    How should you approach someone who’s hurting? Scott Sobel, a senior strategy and communications executive at communications firm kglobal and former major market and network journalist with several journalism awards, provided some advice:

    • Ask a friend, law enforcement officer or other mutual contact for an introduction to the grieving interview subject.
    • Always start conversations or interviews with the expression of condolences.
    • Mention any commonalities or empathy, as in, “I have kids, I can’t imagine what you are going through having just lost your child.”
    • Preface sensitive questions with a qualifying phrase, such as, “Mrs. X, I’m about to ask a very tough question about your loss, of course, you don’t have to answer. Do you mind if I ask …?”
    • If your question needs a linchpin answer, you might explain the social redemption aspect of the interview subject’s cooperation. This approach can also be used after you are first introduced and after you express condolences. Example, “Thank you for the interview, your help here will prevent other accidents in the future.”
    • Reconsider your interview request or questions when you see the subject becoming emotional, combative or physically unable to answer. The judgement is yours depending on circumstances.

    Dr. Sheila K. Collins, a writer, keynote speaker, improvisational artist, and performer, also gave me some suggestions. Her award-winning book, Warrior Mother: Fierce Love, Unbearable Loss and the Rituals that Heal tells of her journeys with two of her three adult children and her best friend through their life-threatening illnesses and deaths. 

    Dr. Collins says, "The issue you are looking at, how reporters approach victims of tragedy is a critical one, not only the reporter and the person being interviewed, but, in the radio and television media, the journalist becomes a model for the public as they encounter someone in their own neighborhood or network experiencing a tragedy. The most frequent comment I get from people about dealing with someone
    else’s grief is, 'I don’t know what to say.'" 

    Here are some ideas from Dr. Collins to consider:

    • Police on the TV cop shows often begin their conversation with a family member of someone who has died with “I’m sorry for your loss.” Even though it can come off as scripted, the statement acknowledges that at this point, for the person, it is the loss that matters most.
    • It would help if journalists could be trained to recognize the signs of when a person is in shock so they can avoid bombarding such a person with detailed questions about what happened. For a person in shock these are unanswerable questions and risk traumatizing the person further.   
    • I would like to see more emphasis on questions that may serve the needs of the person being interviewed while giving information to the journalist and to the public. Lead-ins to such discussions might include:
      • "Do you feel able to talk with me right now about what’s happened here?"
      • "What would you like the public to know about this situation?"
      • "Can you help me understand…?"

    Regardless of whether you’re a new journalist or a seasoned veteran, covering a tragedy is never an easy assignment. Just remember who you’re dealing with, put yourself in their shoes and think of your approach.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

    Implementing Communications Strategies to Elevate Patient Engagement

    Tuesday, May 10, 2016, 2:48 PM [General]
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    The Healthcare Public Relations and Marketing Society of Greater New York (HPRMS) recently presented a panel discussion with AccentHealth regarding ways to optimize performance by implementing new ways to elevate patient engagement in order to drive results through strategic communication planning.

    Today’s healthcare providers face increased accountability for patient care, patient satisfaction as well as greater competition. Donna Turgeon, the senior vice president of patient education services, and Erin Fitzgerald, the vice president of marketing at AccentHealth, gave detailed advice on how to:

    • Determine goals and what success looks like for your company.
    • Understand the wealth of resources available to increase patient engagement.
    • Create a marketing plan to reach those goals that begins within the walls of your organization and branches via multiple channels (e.g., digital solutions, events, contests).


    You should align with internal stakeholder to define what success us for your organization. Success varies from organization to organization so it’s a good idea to get an idea of what would be considered a success. Here are some common goals to help you get started:

    • Increase patient retention.
    • Meet meaningful use requirements.
    • Manage practice more efficiently.
    • Update technology in your practice.
    • Enhance patient engagement.
    • Improve health outcomes.


    Get involved in the community and put a face behind your brand. Leverage digital channels to advertise your involvement and keep current and prospective patients in on the action.

    Within your organization

    • Host a free event with an on-site dietician.
    • Give a seminar on a health issue in which you specialize.
    • Have an open house/community meeting.

    Outside of your organization

    • Sponsor a health fair.
    • Host a heart walk.
    • Facilitate a health screening.
    • Donate to a local charity.
    • Attend a conference.

    Leverage Digital Channels to Market Your Practice & Retain Patients

    Accurate and consistent information across all channels is the key to improving your reputation, increasing your ability to be found, and driving new patients from the web.


    Social Media -- Facebook -- Stay connected with patients between appointments to increase likelihood of rebooking.

    Online Directories -- Healthgrades -- Easily manage your online reputation.

    Search Engines -- Google -- Gain a competitive advantage by coming up first in search results.

    Email marketing -- Patient Newsletter -- Send alerts and health tips to keep patients engaged with their health.


    Having a TV spot professionally produced and buying local advertising can be costly, time consuming, and overwhelming. That’s where point-of-care patient education companies can help.

    3-Step Approach to Creating a Balanced Marketing Plan

    Build a foundation using point of care communication:

    • DIY Marketing: Create your own marketing materials and distribute throughout your organization. Promotional flyers, for example.
    • Patient Education Companies: Many provide complimentary marketing services, allowing you to broadcast professionally produced messages on state-of-the-art technology throughout your waiting and exam rooms.

    Maximize Impact by Using Your Creative on Other Channels

    Utilize your professionally-produced messages to branch out across multiple channels such as:

    • Digital Signage
    • Social Media
    • Internal/Patient Newsletter
    • Company Website

    Target Additional Messaging As Needed

    While you plan your marketing efforts, be sure to align with internal stockholders to prepare messaging to support your other initiatives such as:

    • New resourced for patients (patient portal)
    • Office expansions/changes (renovations)
    • Events (internal and external)
    • New service lines
    • Highlight new physicians and technologies

    If your organization is not yet focused on patient outreach, start small and scale your efforts using channels that are performing best.


    Optimize patient engagement by setting clear goals and testing new tactics:

    • Measure your current baseline (patient retention rate).
    • Align internally on your goals (goal of patient retention rate).
    • Test tactics to optimize performance (contests/special promotions).

    Benefits of Creating & Refining Your Marketing Strategy Starting at the Point of Care

    • Guaranteed patient reach.
    • Improved patient retention and engagement.
    • Decreased expenditure by utilizing complimentary practice messaging services.

    Health System Case Study: Increasing Patient Engagement Starting at the Point-of-Care

    AccentHealth’s Patient Education Solution

    Driving Engagement Through Innovative Digital Products in Waiting and Exam Rooms:

    • Digital Exam Room Solution: Wall-mounted display features a patient education tablet and condition-specific brochures.
    • Digital Patient Education TV: Credible and engaging patient-focused educational content produced by CNN’s Medical Unit.
    • Educational Health Posters: Features relevant facts and digital extensions so patients can interact with additional content.

    Case Study: Resolving Business Challenges Through Point of Care Marketing

    Challenge: Raise patient awareness about and participation in monthly health events.

    Work-Around: Dedicate valuable staff time to design and hang flyers on walls in the waiting rooms, as well as call patients to make them aware of the session and encourage them to register.

    Solution: Leverage custom practice messaging on their AccentHealth TV to expose patients to the event details while they wait.

    Results: Increased participation with less manual effort and increased staff productivity since they can focus on other activities to help drive practice success.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

    Smart Freelancing Strategies for 2016

    Wednesday, May 4, 2016, 2:30 PM [#ConnectChat]
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    On Tuesday, May 3, we hosted our latest #ConnectChat, "Smart Freelancing Strategies for 2016," with our guest Lynn Freehill-Maye, an independent writer and co-chair for this year's American Society of Journalists Conference (ASJA).

    Lynn discussed how to manage your time, marketing yourself, using social media, how to keep your career as a freelance writer fun, the ASJA conference in New York and more.

    Please follow @ProfNet and @ProfNetMedia on Twitter for more information on future chats or check back right here on ProfNet Connect for details.

    Lynn, please tell us about yourself and how you began your career as an independent writer.

    I’m a proud journalism grad from @DrakeJMC, where I gained all the tools to report & write. I reported at Virgin Islands Daily News and edited @TheAlcalde. But the happiest three years of my life have been since I went freelance! I’ve lived and written on four continents now. There’s nothing like the time and geographic flexibility of freelancing.

    What is your role with ASJA (American Society of Journalists and Authors)? 

    Oh, I’m proud to be a member of @ASJAhq, the nation’s leading organization of nonfiction writers! This year I’m co-chairing the national conference, #ASJA2016, with my friend @cindykuzma.

    Why is it a good time to be a freelancer at this point in time?

    So many reasons to be excited about freelancing now! There are more outlets than ever -- new online publications, and more online content needs from traditional magazines. Culturally, I think we’re starting to value flexibility and work-life balance more—and freelancing has a definite appeal for that! And two more words: content marketing.  It’s smart storytelling from businesses and pays well! Content marketing is a growing side of freelancing.

    Should a writer choose a specialty?

    In a word, YES to choosing a writing specialty (or multiple). Many of us have wide-ranging curiosities, BUT choosing even a broad set of specialty topic areas really helps you focus publications to pitch. Specialties also help editors trust you as knowledgeable about certain subject areas. When you have a knowledge base, you save research and use time efficiently. And specialties help you develop a platform for if/when you want to write a book.

    How can you increase your reach and have editors know you exist?

    Twitter is a great start! Add editors to a list you start, like “GreatEds” then engage with them. Of course, pitching ideas directly is probably the single best way to connect with editors. Through @ASJAhq, we get the annual opportunity to meet editors in person, like this year at #ASJA2016, which always helps.

    What are some of the best ways to market yourself?

    Your own website is a nonnegotiable must-have to be a freelancer. It doesn’t have to be pricey, but it should be polished. Good news: pitching is marketing yourself! Send editors your ideas and link to your website. Look for surprising outlets. For instance, @jlwf says look at your direct mail. As a health writer, she contacted hospitals, etc., that sent her magazines and mailings. She now gets paid to write her own junk mail!

    Is blogging a way to increase your visibility?

    Yes, blogging can be extraordinarily effective! My blog is simple, a way to show editors my raw work and have occasional fresh draws to my website. For that my colleague @joanprice advocates a “rule-breaking” blog. Hers is on senior sex!

    How do you leverage your writing with social media?

    Headlines are the best attention-getters. Twitter’s 140 characters makes us better writers, teaching us to trim the fat. Don’t just say you’re a writer. Write in your voice -- the best way to promote yourself. Don’t just share your own content. Promote other writers -- and potential readers. No more than every five tweets should be about you.

    What is the biggest mistake a freelance writer can make with regards to time?

    So much to learn about time management! I’ve gained so much from author @lvanderkam on this. No matter how busy you are with projects, you must budget time to pitch and market yourself.

    How do you resolve this issue of time mismanagement? It can keep you from getting the results you want so how do you fix it?

    I tracked my time for one week, as @lvanderkam advises. How do you TRULY use the 168 hours we all have? First, measure that. For truly scary results, track the time you lose surfing online and on Facebook. (Pro tip: sign out!)

    You MUST take regular, measured breaks or your mind will wander. I use the @PomodoroTech to great success. Blocks of 25-min concentration followed by 5-min breaks.

    A lot of work goes into creating a freelance career – how can one keep it fun?

    To keep freelancing fun, balance passion projects with big-payout work. @DawnReiss will share great thoughts at #ASJA2016. Follow your curiosity on those passion projects. Chase the stories that light you up. Develop a tribe of freelancing friends. Sharing ideas, contact info, feedback, jokes and support helps loads!

    There's a misconception that freelancers don't help each other sometimes since it seems they're competing with one another. What's your take?

    That's a real misconception—freelancers know there's enough business for all! Trusted friends help you flesh out ideas, outlets. Freelance writing is running your own business, so the rules of being an entrepreneur apply.

    Do you recommend side jobs to keep a steady income and when (if) can you rely only on writing?

    Side jobs can be good if they provide necessary income while you build up your freelance career. Side-job side benefits: if you're an extrovert who craves real-time interactions. A side job could also teach you a skill that’ll expand your skill set and increase your marketability. But no to side jobs if the work is taking you away from marketing time. You may be better off devoting that time to marketing each week and may make more money that way.

    How do you keep the momentum going and keep getting clients?

    Never neglect marketing! Always keep looking for new clients. From reaching out to local businesses to asking clients for referrals, there are always ways to grow your writing business. .@kellyjamesenger and her books have great marketing ideas.

    Can you tell us about this year’s ASJA conference?

    Oh, so pumped about the conference! #ASJA2016 takes place @RooseveltNYC May 20-21. We’ll bring together hundreds of authors, nonfiction writers and journalists with editors and agents.

    We've got highly anticipated keynote and welcome addresses coming from @lvanderkam and @JoshLevs. We’re thrilled that New York Times Book Review editor @PamelaPaulNYT will be among the boldface names and the editor of @Harpers, @jamesamarcus, is among the many key speakers.

    Business publications whose editors will field pitches include @Inc @FastCompany @FortuneMagazine @TheAtlantic. Editors from @BBCTravel @BudgetTravel @buzzfeedtravel @AARP will also field travel pitches. I could go on and on about the value of #writers #conferences in general and #ASJA2016 in particular.

    Where can you register for it?

    Register for #ASJA2016 at Asjaconferences.org . See you there!

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

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