Evelyn Tipacti's blog listings. Feed Zend_Feed_Writer 1.10.8 (http://framework.zend.com) http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti Best of Spotlight: PR Tips from Media Pros, Part Two Our monthly Spotlight series focuses on journalists and opens the door into their lives as members of the media in their respective newsrooms.

Over the year we’ve gotten some great advice regarding how to best pitch them so we’ve decided to do a year-end roundup of the best responses we’ve received to the questions we’ve asked throughout the second half of 2014.

(A roundup for the first half of the year was done in July.)

The journalists featured are:

  • James Pilcher, Investigative Reporter, Cincinnati/Kentucky Enquirer 
  • Amir Khan, Health and Wellness Reporter, U.S. News & World Report 
  • Rachel Weingarten, Lifestyle Writer, Style Columnist & Award-winning Author

In January we’ll have a brand new interview and we hope you’ll continue to read and enjoy this feature. If you’re a journalist who sends queries via ProfNet and you would like to be featured in our Spotlight series, please let us know below.

Happy Holidays!

What advice do you have for PR professionals who want to pitch you? 

Take a minute or two to actually read something I've written recently. I get so many pitches from PR people who read something I wrote a few years back and pitch very specific stories based on my former columns or business needs. Don't try to cram or reform the same pitch that you've pitched every single other person in your address book. It really helps if you can give me an angle that might work for my particular audience.” (Rachel Weingarten)

“Pay attention to my coverage. Don’t send me pitches for something that’s far out of my scope of coverage. It only serves to clog up my inbox. Even if we’ve worked together before, if I just get pitch after pitch of stories that aren’t related to my coverage, I’m less likely to work with you in the future.” (Amir Khan)

“Tell me how this will affect my readers straight off. Make sure that you know that the story is in my coverage area.” (James Pilcher)

What should a PR person always do and never do? 

“My biggest complaint is that I get on someone’s list, and I get pitches from that PR rep for all kinds of things, even though it has nothing to do with what I’m covering. I also don’t like pitches over social media. Social means social … so unless I know you personally, I’m not going to pay attention if you tweet at me with a story. Finally, if it is a national push, try to find something that I can tie to my local area.” (James Pilcher)

“Contact me in the way that I've mentioned that I prefer. I hate being phone stalked by publicists who have tracked my phone number down somehow. I'm fine chatting if we already have a relationship, but please don't call me numerous times if we've never worked together previously. There is no one definitive way to interact with a writer. So taking the time (when possible, we know you're busy too!) to get to know the foibles and quirks of writers will mean that the overall experience will be so much smoother.” (Rachel Weingarten)

“Always check to make sure your expert is available before pitching to me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had someone pitch their expert, only to email me back and tell me they’re actually unavailable. Never stalk me. I’ve had PR people email me, then follow up with a call 2 minutes later and then email again if I don’t answer. Give me a little bit of time to respond.” (Amir Khan)

How should someone in PR start a working relationship with you? 

Introduce yourself to me first. Don’t just send me a press release and expect me to respond to you right away. A quick paragraph about who you are makes me much more likely to read it.” (Amir Khan)

“I’ve always believed in the personal touch – a phone call, coffee (if you are in the same area), lunch.” (James Pilcher)

“Send me an introduction email. Feel free to pitch me a client or product or ask about the stories I'm working on. Bear in mind that I get hundreds of emails each week with similar pitches, so while I might be swamped, I really do try to respond.” (Rachel Weingarten)

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

Read my request. You'd be amazed at how many PR people will zero in on a single word and then pitch on a topic that has absolutely nothing to do with me or anything I've ever written about. Or worse, they'll pitch completely off topic and try to bring in the most tenuous connection to what I truly seek. Also, I have a specific email address that I've set up for ProfNet, so I know if you've been mining the queries for email addresses. Don't add me to your distribution list just because you can. If I work with a publicist I'll give her my work email or personal email thereby ensuring that I have earlier and easier access to future pitches. And whatever you do, please don't send me a link to an article that's been written about the person you're pitching or a link to their website and tell me to read through for more info. I can easily search on my own, my hope is to connect with experts or resources I might not otherwise have had access to or known about.” (Rachel Weingarten)

Be sure to provide me with a phone number! If I need something at the last minute, I'm more likely to call someone instead of email.” (Amir Khan)

"Be respectful of deadlines. We put them there for a reason. Email but then call to follow up. Don’t pitch someone who 'might' work or is ancillary to the story." (James Pilcher)

What type of experts do you prefer to work with? 

To me, as long as the person has deep experience in the area either professionally or in an academic setting, it doesn’t matter. People who are used to speaking with the media and perhaps have deeper background on an issue that they can provide.” (James Pilcher)

 “I love quirky people. Anyone who has an interesting background or story or product or niche. I'm not enamored with the blanket message. I love interviewing people who aren't so smooth that they tell the same story to everyone they speak with. I'd rather build a rapport and learn about what makes you or your knowledge or product unique.” (Rachel Weingarten)

“I prefer to work with doctors who are affiliated with hospitals. I tend to stay away from doctors who are part of weight-loss programs or are selling things.” (Amir Khan)

What advice would you give to someone who is just beginning their journalism career or for someone who may be considering journalism?

“Do as many internships as you can. I did three throughout my college career, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. Media outlets are looking for experience, they don’t want someone they have to train. Internships are the best way to make contacts in the industry, get clips, and land a job out of college.” (Amir Khan)

“The two most important abilities remain the ability to report and to write. I got into this business because I love to write. But that now takes up only about 20 percent of my time. It’s the gumption to go out and get good stories and ask good questions that separate journalists. And then the ability to synthesize that information quickly in a way that makes it approachable by anyone.” (James Pilcher)

“I think you have to really know your strengths and weaknesses. If you're a great writer but poor with time management, it won't work for you. If you have a super thin skin you'll have a hard time dealing with potential rejection from editors and outlets. And please, whatever you do, don't accept jobs that don't pay you or underpay you. There's been a horrible downward spiral for far too long in the industry with major players undervaluing skilled writers by either refusing to pay writers or offering them crumbs instead of payment worthy of their talents. New writers are made to believe that it's worth trading their integrity and talents for exposure. It isn't.” (Rachel Weingarten)

 Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

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Fri, 19 Dec 2014 16:46:53 -0600 http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2014/12/19/best_of_spotlight:_pr_tips_from_media_pros,_part_two http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2014/12/19/best_of_spotlight:_pr_tips_from_media_pros,_part_two Our monthly Spotlight series focuses on journalists and opens the door into their lives as members of the media in their respective newsrooms.

Over the year we’ve gotten some great advice regarding how to best pitch them so we’ve decided to do a year-end roundup of the best responses we’ve received to the questions we’ve asked throughout the second half of 2014.

(A roundup for the first half of the year was done in July.)

The journalists featured are:

  • James Pilcher, Investigative Reporter, Cincinnati/Kentucky Enquirer 
  • Amir Khan, Health and Wellness Reporter, U.S. News & World Report 
  • Rachel Weingarten, Lifestyle Writer, Style Columnist & Award-winning Author

In January we’ll have a brand new interview and we hope you’ll continue to read and enjoy this feature. If you’re a journalist who sends queries via ProfNet and you would like to be featured in our Spotlight series, please let us know below.

Happy Holidays!

What advice do you have for PR professionals who want to pitch you? 

Take a minute or two to actually read something I've written recently. I get so many pitches from PR people who read something I wrote a few years back and pitch very specific stories based on my former columns or business needs. Don't try to cram or reform the same pitch that you've pitched every single other person in your address book. It really helps if you can give me an angle that might work for my particular audience.” (Rachel Weingarten)

“Pay attention to my coverage. Don’t send me pitches for something that’s far out of my scope of coverage. It only serves to clog up my inbox. Even if we’ve worked together before, if I just get pitch after pitch of stories that aren’t related to my coverage, I’m less likely to work with you in the future.” (Amir Khan)

“Tell me how this will affect my readers straight off. Make sure that you know that the story is in my coverage area.” (James Pilcher)

What should a PR person always do and never do? 

“My biggest complaint is that I get on someone’s list, and I get pitches from that PR rep for all kinds of things, even though it has nothing to do with what I’m covering. I also don’t like pitches over social media. Social means social … so unless I know you personally, I’m not going to pay attention if you tweet at me with a story. Finally, if it is a national push, try to find something that I can tie to my local area.” (James Pilcher)

“Contact me in the way that I've mentioned that I prefer. I hate being phone stalked by publicists who have tracked my phone number down somehow. I'm fine chatting if we already have a relationship, but please don't call me numerous times if we've never worked together previously. There is no one definitive way to interact with a writer. So taking the time (when possible, we know you're busy too!) to get to know the foibles and quirks of writers will mean that the overall experience will be so much smoother.” (Rachel Weingarten)

“Always check to make sure your expert is available before pitching to me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had someone pitch their expert, only to email me back and tell me they’re actually unavailable. Never stalk me. I’ve had PR people email me, then follow up with a call 2 minutes later and then email again if I don’t answer. Give me a little bit of time to respond.” (Amir Khan)

How should someone in PR start a working relationship with you? 

Introduce yourself to me first. Don’t just send me a press release and expect me to respond to you right away. A quick paragraph about who you are makes me much more likely to read it.” (Amir Khan)

“I’ve always believed in the personal touch – a phone call, coffee (if you are in the same area), lunch.” (James Pilcher)

“Send me an introduction email. Feel free to pitch me a client or product or ask about the stories I'm working on. Bear in mind that I get hundreds of emails each week with similar pitches, so while I might be swamped, I really do try to respond.” (Rachel Weingarten)

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

Read my request. You'd be amazed at how many PR people will zero in on a single word and then pitch on a topic that has absolutely nothing to do with me or anything I've ever written about. Or worse, they'll pitch completely off topic and try to bring in the most tenuous connection to what I truly seek. Also, I have a specific email address that I've set up for ProfNet, so I know if you've been mining the queries for email addresses. Don't add me to your distribution list just because you can. If I work with a publicist I'll give her my work email or personal email thereby ensuring that I have earlier and easier access to future pitches. And whatever you do, please don't send me a link to an article that's been written about the person you're pitching or a link to their website and tell me to read through for more info. I can easily search on my own, my hope is to connect with experts or resources I might not otherwise have had access to or known about.” (Rachel Weingarten)

Be sure to provide me with a phone number! If I need something at the last minute, I'm more likely to call someone instead of email.” (Amir Khan)

"Be respectful of deadlines. We put them there for a reason. Email but then call to follow up. Don’t pitch someone who 'might' work or is ancillary to the story." (James Pilcher)

What type of experts do you prefer to work with? 

To me, as long as the person has deep experience in the area either professionally or in an academic setting, it doesn’t matter. People who are used to speaking with the media and perhaps have deeper background on an issue that they can provide.” (James Pilcher)

 “I love quirky people. Anyone who has an interesting background or story or product or niche. I'm not enamored with the blanket message. I love interviewing people who aren't so smooth that they tell the same story to everyone they speak with. I'd rather build a rapport and learn about what makes you or your knowledge or product unique.” (Rachel Weingarten)

“I prefer to work with doctors who are affiliated with hospitals. I tend to stay away from doctors who are part of weight-loss programs or are selling things.” (Amir Khan)

What advice would you give to someone who is just beginning their journalism career or for someone who may be considering journalism?

“Do as many internships as you can. I did three throughout my college career, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. Media outlets are looking for experience, they don’t want someone they have to train. Internships are the best way to make contacts in the industry, get clips, and land a job out of college.” (Amir Khan)

“The two most important abilities remain the ability to report and to write. I got into this business because I love to write. But that now takes up only about 20 percent of my time. It’s the gumption to go out and get good stories and ask good questions that separate journalists. And then the ability to synthesize that information quickly in a way that makes it approachable by anyone.” (James Pilcher)

“I think you have to really know your strengths and weaknesses. If you're a great writer but poor with time management, it won't work for you. If you have a super thin skin you'll have a hard time dealing with potential rejection from editors and outlets. And please, whatever you do, don't accept jobs that don't pay you or underpay you. There's been a horrible downward spiral for far too long in the industry with major players undervaluing skilled writers by either refusing to pay writers or offering them crumbs instead of payment worthy of their talents. New writers are made to believe that it's worth trading their integrity and talents for exposure. It isn't.” (Rachel Weingarten)

 Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

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Media 411: Top 10 Posts of 2014

(Photo by Aramil Liadon; used under CC By 2.0)

Media 411 has become a regular feature on ProfNet Connect and I hope to continue providing information of interest to members of the media in the coming year.

Thank you for supporting it by reading and sharing the posts on social media and elsewhere. If you have any suggestions in regards to what you’d like to see, please let me know in the comments section below.

I leave you here on this last entry of the year, with the top ten Media 411 posts of 2014. Here’s wishing you a very happy holiday season and a wonderful 2015!

To see all Media 411 posts from this year, please click here.

Media 411: Ways Journalists Can Use Twitter

Media 411: 5 Tools for Social Media Monitoring

Media 411: Fact-checking 

Media 411: How Journalists Can Avoid Conflicts of Interest

Media 411: Avoiding Clichés

Media 411: Top Apps for Journalists

Media 411: Journalists Using Instagram

Media 411: Avoid These Beginner Journalist Mistakes

Media 411: Ways Journalists Can Use Facebook

Media 411: Focusing on Journalism Skills

Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

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Thu, 18 Dec 2014 13:17:15 -0600 http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2014/12/18/media_411:_top_10_posts_of_2014 http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2014/12/18/media_411:_top_10_posts_of_2014

(Photo by Aramil Liadon; used under CC By 2.0)

Media 411 has become a regular feature on ProfNet Connect and I hope to continue providing information of interest to members of the media in the coming year.

Thank you for supporting it by reading and sharing the posts on social media and elsewhere. If you have any suggestions in regards to what you’d like to see, please let me know in the comments section below.

I leave you here on this last entry of the year, with the top ten Media 411 posts of 2014. Here’s wishing you a very happy holiday season and a wonderful 2015!

To see all Media 411 posts from this year, please click here.

Media 411: Ways Journalists Can Use Twitter

Media 411: 5 Tools for Social Media Monitoring

Media 411: Fact-checking 

Media 411: How Journalists Can Avoid Conflicts of Interest

Media 411: Avoiding Clichés

Media 411: Top Apps for Journalists

Media 411: Journalists Using Instagram

Media 411: Avoid These Beginner Journalist Mistakes

Media 411: Ways Journalists Can Use Facebook

Media 411: Focusing on Journalism Skills

Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
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Media 411: Facebook’s Most Discussed Topics of 2014 Did you watch the World Cup or participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge? If you use Facebook, you’re likely to have commented about one of these two things which happen to be on Facebook's list of most discussed topics of the year. 

Barbara Ortutay of the Associated Press wrote about the list which was released by Facebook early this week. Some of the items on the list don’t come as a shock while others may have not have been on your radar at all.

Ortutay writes, “The list Facebook released Tuesday is a testament to its global reach, given that more than 80 percent of Facebook users live outside the U.S. and Canada. Worldwide topics — the World Cup soccer tournament and the Ebola outbreak — occupied the top two spots. But No. 3 was the presidential election in Brazil. Facebook says some 48 million people had 674 million interactions — status updates, photos, videos, comments and likes — about the highly contested event. That made it the most talked-about election of 2014 — even more than the congressional midterms in the U.S.”

To continue reading, please click here.

Is there an item you're surprised did not make this list?

Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

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Thu, 11 Dec 2014 15:13:58 -0600 http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti Did you watch the World Cup or participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge? If you use Facebook, you’re likely to have commented about one of these two things which happen to be on Facebook's list of most discussed topics of the year. 

Barbara Ortutay of the Associated Press wrote about the list which was released by Facebook early this week. Some of the items on the list don’t come as a shock while others may have not have been on your radar at all.

Ortutay writes, “The list Facebook released Tuesday is a testament to its global reach, given that more than 80 percent of Facebook users live outside the U.S. and Canada. Worldwide topics — the World Cup soccer tournament and the Ebola outbreak — occupied the top two spots. But No. 3 was the presidential election in Brazil. Facebook says some 48 million people had 674 million interactions — status updates, photos, videos, comments and likes — about the highly contested event. That made it the most talked-about election of 2014 — even more than the congressional midterms in the U.S.”

To continue reading, please click here.

Is there an item you're surprised did not make this list?

Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

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Media 411: Best Ads of 2014 We’re almost at the end of 2014 which means the “top” and “best” of the year lists start to appear. This week I’m focusing on the best ads of 2014, some of which are funny, moving or completely in your face with painful reality.

Adweek compiled this list and you’ve probably seen a couple on television while the rest may be new to you. Grab some tissues to wipe the tears away and please note that one of them, #8, is probably NSFW. 

Tim Nudd writes, “Plenty of campaigns—in all sorts of styles, themes and textures—found the perfect formula of idea and execution to produce something brilliantly compelling in 2014. But it was Droga5 and Newcastle Brown Ale's meta takedown of the industry, and its biggest night, that represented the pinnacle of ad creativity this year.

Droga5's Under Armour campaign also makes our top 10 list this year—the only agency with two entries. And in fact, it was a strong year for sports advertising generally—largely thanks to the World Cup, from which we've included our favorite execution.

Elsewhere in our top 10, we have a prank, a food spot, more comedy, a Christmas ad, a short film, a celebration of family and a brutal PSA."

To continue reading and view the ads, please click here.

Photo courtesy of bing.

Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

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Thu, 04 Dec 2014 12:52:15 -0600 http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2014/12/04/media_411:_best_ads_of_2014 http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2014/12/04/media_411:_best_ads_of_2014 We’re almost at the end of 2014 which means the “top” and “best” of the year lists start to appear. This week I’m focusing on the best ads of 2014, some of which are funny, moving or completely in your face with painful reality.

Adweek compiled this list and you’ve probably seen a couple on television while the rest may be new to you. Grab some tissues to wipe the tears away and please note that one of them, #8, is probably NSFW. 

Tim Nudd writes, “Plenty of campaigns—in all sorts of styles, themes and textures—found the perfect formula of idea and execution to produce something brilliantly compelling in 2014. But it was Droga5 and Newcastle Brown Ale's meta takedown of the industry, and its biggest night, that represented the pinnacle of ad creativity this year.

Droga5's Under Armour campaign also makes our top 10 list this year—the only agency with two entries. And in fact, it was a strong year for sports advertising generally—largely thanks to the World Cup, from which we've included our favorite execution.

Elsewhere in our top 10, we have a prank, a food spot, more comedy, a Christmas ad, a short film, a celebration of family and a brutal PSA."

To continue reading and view the ads, please click here.

Photo courtesy of bing.

Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
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SPOTLIGHT: James Pilcher, Cincinnati/Kentucky Enquirer Welcome to our SPOTLIGHT feature, where we highlight a journalist and ProfNet user to share their personal story and insight with you.

This SPOTLIGHT belongs to James Pilcher, an investigative reporter for the Cincinnati/Kentucky Enquirer. He's currently the lead reporter looking into government waste and misspending, as well as data work and other issues. Please read more about James below.

We hope you find SPOTLIGHT both enjoyable and informative.



Did you always want to be a journalist or did you start your career in a different field?

No. Actually I thought about being a lawyer or trying to work for the State Department. And my first job out of college was selling  ball bearings and industrial chain.

But I feel my political science degree helped prepare me in a different way … if you know how things are supposed to work, you can recognize when they aren’t working right or something is wrong.

Where was your first professional job as a journalist?

I was a part-time sports stringer/freelance writer here in Cincinnati when I landed a job as an entry-level sportswriter for The Savannah Morning News.

What type of news do you currently cover?

I cover the leaders and decision makers and major issues facing Northern Kentucky, a major coverage area for The Enquirer. That includes keeping tabs on area politicians, business leaders and other influential leaders. But I also hold them accountable, and investigate major issues or wrongdoing.

Do you make suggestions as to what stories you cover or are they mostly assigned?

Under our new restructuring, I have the freedom to dictate what stories should be covered and to suggest most ideas.

What stories do you like covering the most?

Deep dives into complicated subjects that have the potential for affecting just about everyone. I also enjoy data-driven stories.

Is there something you would consider as being ‘the best’ part of being a journalist?

Getting to ask those in power tough questions and holding them accountable.

You worked in marketing for two years – what made you leave journalism and what made you return?

I’ve actually left The Enquirer twice. Each time was different – the first time was a bit of burnout and an interesting opportunity. I was lured away for the second. But in the end, I feel journalism is a calling; an avocation more than a profession.

What advice do you have for PR professionals who want to pitch you? 

Tell me how this will affect my readers straight off. Make sure that you know that the story is in my coverage area. 

What they always do and never do? 

My biggest complaint is that I get on someone’s list, and I get pitches from that PR rep for all kinds of things, even though it has nothing to do with what I’m covering.

I also don’t like pitches over social media. Social means social … so unless I know you personally, I’m not going to pay attention if you tweet at me with a story.

Finally, if it is a national push, try to find something that I can tie to my local area.

How should someone in PR start a working relationship with you? 

I’ve always believed in the personal touch – a phone call, coffee (if you are in the same area), lunch.

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

  1. Be respectful of deadlines. We put them there for a reason.
  2. Email but then call to follow up.
  3. Don’t pitch someone who “might” work or is ancillary to the story.

What type of experts do you prefer to work with? 

To me, as long as the person has deep experience in the area either professionally or in an academic setting, it doesn’t matter. People who are used to speaking with the media and perhaps have deeper background on an issue that they can provide.

Can you tell us about your most memorable or most difficult assignment?

Wow. That covers a lot. I covered the 1996 Olympics, spending just about every day on the Atlantic Ocean covering the sailing events. I had to knock on the door of the parents’ of Jon Benet Ramsey one afternoon.

Here in Cincinnati, exposing the dangers of our most traveled bridge, showing the corruption at the local airport board, and diving deep into the Cincinnati city budget and pension crisis.

Do you use social media as part of your job? 

Absolutely. It is an integral part of growing our audience, but also for finding out what is going on and for sourcing. I am active on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and even Instagram.

How has the industry changed from when you began your career? 

Obviously the move to digital has been a sea change for the industry. There really are no deadlines anymore – we post when its ready and then worry about print later.

There is also infinitely more competition for news and for eyeballs – and trying to court an entire generation that has no real attachment or history with print newspapers.

And we all have to have a lot more skills than just writing and reporting. Taking photos/videos … creating our own graphics, etc.

What advice would you give to someone who is just beginning their journalism career or for someone who may be considering journalism?

Despite what I said above, the two most important abilities remain the ability to report and to write. I got into this business because I love to write. But that now takes up only about 20 percent of my time. It’s the gumption to go out and get good stories and ask good questions that separate journalists. And then the ability to synthesize that information quickly in a way that makes it approachable by anyone.

About James Pilcher

James Pilcher is an investigative reporter for the Cincinnati/Kentucky Enquirer, and has been a practicing journalist for the past 25 years. He returned to journalism and the Enquirer in 2013 after a two-year stint working in marketing, communications, technical writing and project management for several local tech firms.

He currently is the lead reporter looking into government waste and misspending, as well as data work and other issues.

It is actually James’ third stint with the Enquirer, having returned to his true love of journalism.

James is the immediate past president of the Cincinnati professional Society of Professional Journalists chapter and has previously served on the national board of SPJ as a regional director and national committee member. James also is active in the Investigative Reporters and Editors association and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

A long-time advocate for the use of technology in the newsroom, James has won numerous journalism awards, including the best business reporter in the state of Ohio in 2006 and several national awards for his coverage of the Brent Spence Bridge.

He has previously covered the economy, the aviation/airline industry and personal technology for the Enquirer, while also tackling large in-depth projects about business and the Cincinnati area. He is known as one of the nation’s premier aviation reporters, having covered the industry for 10 years.

Prior to joining the Enquirer in 2000, James worked for The Associated Press in its Atlanta office, served as sports editor for Copley Chicago Newspapers and was the lead Olympics reporter for the Savannah Morning News in the 1990s.

James is married to Melissa, with three sons and lives in Northern Kentucky. He is an indiscriminate music junkie, and loves basketball, cooking, making beer and cheering for Boston teams.

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Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:04:53 -0600 http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2014/11/21/spotlight:_james_pilcher,_cincinnatikentucky_enquirer http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2014/11/21/spotlight:_james_pilcher,_cincinnatikentucky_enquirer Welcome to our SPOTLIGHT feature, where we highlight a journalist and ProfNet user to share their personal story and insight with you.

This SPOTLIGHT belongs to James Pilcher, an investigative reporter for the Cincinnati/Kentucky Enquirer. He's currently the lead reporter looking into government waste and misspending, as well as data work and other issues. Please read more about James below.

We hope you find SPOTLIGHT both enjoyable and informative.



Did you always want to be a journalist or did you start your career in a different field?

No. Actually I thought about being a lawyer or trying to work for the State Department. And my first job out of college was selling  ball bearings and industrial chain.

But I feel my political science degree helped prepare me in a different way … if you know how things are supposed to work, you can recognize when they aren’t working right or something is wrong.

Where was your first professional job as a journalist?

I was a part-time sports stringer/freelance writer here in Cincinnati when I landed a job as an entry-level sportswriter for The Savannah Morning News.

What type of news do you currently cover?

I cover the leaders and decision makers and major issues facing Northern Kentucky, a major coverage area for The Enquirer. That includes keeping tabs on area politicians, business leaders and other influential leaders. But I also hold them accountable, and investigate major issues or wrongdoing.

Do you make suggestions as to what stories you cover or are they mostly assigned?

Under our new restructuring, I have the freedom to dictate what stories should be covered and to suggest most ideas.

What stories do you like covering the most?

Deep dives into complicated subjects that have the potential for affecting just about everyone. I also enjoy data-driven stories.

Is there something you would consider as being ‘the best’ part of being a journalist?

Getting to ask those in power tough questions and holding them accountable.

You worked in marketing for two years – what made you leave journalism and what made you return?

I’ve actually left The Enquirer twice. Each time was different – the first time was a bit of burnout and an interesting opportunity. I was lured away for the second. But in the end, I feel journalism is a calling; an avocation more than a profession.

What advice do you have for PR professionals who want to pitch you? 

Tell me how this will affect my readers straight off. Make sure that you know that the story is in my coverage area. 

What they always do and never do? 

My biggest complaint is that I get on someone’s list, and I get pitches from that PR rep for all kinds of things, even though it has nothing to do with what I’m covering.

I also don’t like pitches over social media. Social means social … so unless I know you personally, I’m not going to pay attention if you tweet at me with a story.

Finally, if it is a national push, try to find something that I can tie to my local area.

How should someone in PR start a working relationship with you? 

I’ve always believed in the personal touch – a phone call, coffee (if you are in the same area), lunch.

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

  1. Be respectful of deadlines. We put them there for a reason.
  2. Email but then call to follow up.
  3. Don’t pitch someone who “might” work or is ancillary to the story.

What type of experts do you prefer to work with? 

To me, as long as the person has deep experience in the area either professionally or in an academic setting, it doesn’t matter. People who are used to speaking with the media and perhaps have deeper background on an issue that they can provide.

Can you tell us about your most memorable or most difficult assignment?

Wow. That covers a lot. I covered the 1996 Olympics, spending just about every day on the Atlantic Ocean covering the sailing events. I had to knock on the door of the parents’ of Jon Benet Ramsey one afternoon.

Here in Cincinnati, exposing the dangers of our most traveled bridge, showing the corruption at the local airport board, and diving deep into the Cincinnati city budget and pension crisis.

Do you use social media as part of your job? 

Absolutely. It is an integral part of growing our audience, but also for finding out what is going on and for sourcing. I am active on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and even Instagram.

How has the industry changed from when you began your career? 

Obviously the move to digital has been a sea change for the industry. There really are no deadlines anymore – we post when its ready and then worry about print later.

There is also infinitely more competition for news and for eyeballs – and trying to court an entire generation that has no real attachment or history with print newspapers.

And we all have to have a lot more skills than just writing and reporting. Taking photos/videos … creating our own graphics, etc.

What advice would you give to someone who is just beginning their journalism career or for someone who may be considering journalism?

Despite what I said above, the two most important abilities remain the ability to report and to write. I got into this business because I love to write. But that now takes up only about 20 percent of my time. It’s the gumption to go out and get good stories and ask good questions that separate journalists. And then the ability to synthesize that information quickly in a way that makes it approachable by anyone.

About James Pilcher

James Pilcher is an investigative reporter for the Cincinnati/Kentucky Enquirer, and has been a practicing journalist for the past 25 years. He returned to journalism and the Enquirer in 2013 after a two-year stint working in marketing, communications, technical writing and project management for several local tech firms.

He currently is the lead reporter looking into government waste and misspending, as well as data work and other issues.

It is actually James’ third stint with the Enquirer, having returned to his true love of journalism.

James is the immediate past president of the Cincinnati professional Society of Professional Journalists chapter and has previously served on the national board of SPJ as a regional director and national committee member. James also is active in the Investigative Reporters and Editors association and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

A long-time advocate for the use of technology in the newsroom, James has won numerous journalism awards, including the best business reporter in the state of Ohio in 2006 and several national awards for his coverage of the Brent Spence Bridge.

He has previously covered the economy, the aviation/airline industry and personal technology for the Enquirer, while also tackling large in-depth projects about business and the Cincinnati area. He is known as one of the nation’s premier aviation reporters, having covered the industry for 10 years.

Prior to joining the Enquirer in 2000, James worked for The Associated Press in its Atlanta office, served as sports editor for Copley Chicago Newspapers and was the lead Olympics reporter for the Savannah Morning News in the 1990s.

James is married to Melissa, with three sons and lives in Northern Kentucky. He is an indiscriminate music junkie, and loves basketball, cooking, making beer and cheering for Boston teams.

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