Evelyn Tipacti's blog listings. Feed Zend_Feed_Writer 1.10.8 (http://framework.zend.com) http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti Queries & LOIs That Sell On Tuesday, Sept. 1, we hosted our latest #ConnectChat, "Queries & LOIs That Sell," with our guest Linda Formichelli. 

Formichelli has written for over 150 magazines since 1997, from Pizza Today and The Federal Credit Union to Redbook and Health. Linda runs the Renegade Writer blog, where you can sign up for free writer goodies, and co-owns UsefulWritingCourses.com.

She explained the differences bewteen queries and letters of introduction, when to use them, how to write them 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.


Linda, please tell us about yourself and your career as a writer.

Since 1997 have written for 150+ mags including Redbook, USA Weekend, Health, Writer's Digest and Family Circle.  Also copywriting clients like Sprint, OnStar, Pizzeria Uno and TripAdvisor and blogs like Copyblogger, Write to Done and Tiny Buddha. And am author of many books like The Renegade Writer and Write Your Way Out of the Rat Race...And Step Into a Career You Love. Finally, run the Renegade Writer blog at www.therenegadewriter.com and co-own www.usefulwritingcourses.com.

You’re focusing more on teaching these days instead of writing for clients – why did you decide to switch?

I bounce back and forth to keep burnout at bay. After 18 years mag writing I was ready for a change!

Writers need to diversify not only to avoid burnout, but to smooth out the ups and downs of freelance income. And I LOVE freelance life and am passionate about helping others get it. More stable career, you control your income, WAY more fun.

What are the differences between letters of introduction (LOIs) and query letters?

LOIs introduce yourself to an editor or prospect and are best for trade mags and copywriting clients.

Query letters are expected by consumer (newsstand pubs) and pitch ONE idea with research, quotes and examples. You can also use shortened version of a query letter to pitch guest posts to blogs. Bloggers are impressed with good query! Big-name bloggers like guest post queries because they usually get crappy pitches and queries are so much more pro.

New writers often confuse queries and letters of introduction (LOI) – why is that?

LOIs are easier so writers tend to want to use them but they're not too effective for big mags who are getting lots of pitches.

When should you use a query?

Queries work for all mags, but you NEED them for big consumer/newsstand pubs. They don't respond well to LOIs.

When should you use a letter of introduction?

LOIs work for trade mags, custom publications (like those you get from your bank or a local store) and businesses.

What are the basics to include in a query?

Query basics 1. Article idea that is TIMELY, NARROW and UNIQUE, and a headline that grabs the editor's attention.

Query basics 2. Intro like you would see in the magazine: Anecdote, surprising stat, etc.

Query basics 3. "Nut graf" - paragraph that sums up what is the article you're suggesting.

Query basics 3.2. A typical nut graf could end, "In my article X I'll tell readers Y. For example:"

Query basics 4. Examples of what you're offering. Like in a tip article, provide 3 of the tips with subheds and expert quotes.

Query basics 5. A creds paragraph about what makes YOU the perfect writer for this. Previous pubs, topic experience.

Query basics 6. ASK for the sale: "May I write this for you?" "What do you think of this idea for mag X?" etc. (Be creative!)

Is pitching an assignment to a pub at all similar to what a proper PR pitch to a journalist should look like?

And kinda...would have quotes, yes, but more examples. Constructed more like article.

But what if a writer has no clips (writing samples)?

Start with topic where you have personal experience, education or exclusive access to a source and write the HELL out of the query.

Can you send the same query to multiple publications?

Yes, with caveats. Have whole post on that here: www.therenegadewriter.com/2012/03/12/the...

What if you end up selling the same idea to two magazines then?

So rare! But first, do happy dance. Then, offer second pub different idea if competing, or different angle if non-competing pub.

What are the basics to include in a letter of introduction?

Info about you, what the prospect is missing (up-to-date blog posts, articles on X) and how you can provide that, IDEAS.

IDEAS are important - prospects get lots of "Here I am, hire me!" LOIs with no value or benefit to the prospect.

So for example, include 3 quick blog post/article ideas, or suggestions for how you'll improve their About Us page.

Then ASK for what you want: "May I send you some clips?" is example of a non-threatening way to get prospect to say YES.

But BE CREATIVE! Now EVERYONE is saying "May I send you some clips?" and it gets old. You're a writer! Say it fun!

What are some of your favorite writer forums?

Freelance Writers Den: freelancewritersden.com/dap/a/?a=1003&nb.... Also Freelance Success was good when I used it.

What are the biggest mistakes people make when writing queries and LOIs?

For LOIs, quick, lazy emails with no value or benefit. They say, "I'm great, hire me!" Well, EVERY pro writer is great. Trick is to think, how can u make the prospect's life easier and earn them more money? Why do they need YOU and not someone else?

Another LOI snafu is following template. You’re a writer-be creative! Use your personal style! Customize your LOI for the prospect.

With queries, BIG mistake is writing in professional, stilted style. Mag style is typically conversational and fun.

And biggest mistake is thinking LOIs/queries are too time consuming if you do them right. If you DON'T give your best effort in queries/LOIs, you won't get gigs. That's the REAL waste of time.

How long should a query be?

As long as it needs to be! Too many books/mags tell you a query needs to be no longer than one page. I call B.S.! A 3-page query got me into Woman's Day, Family Circle & Redbook..because they like DETAILS. But sometimes, especially if you know the editor, you can write a one-paragraph pitch.

Should you mention how long the article you’re pitching is in the query?

I say number one, editors know their mag better than you and two, what if you pitch a 200-word short and they see it as a feature, or vice versa? Let the editor decide how long they'd like it to be - don't give her a reason to say no!

How can you find the best editor to send your pitch to?

First, know that EIC or editorial director usually is not the person to pitch. Deputy, managing, associate editors are better. Also features editors or editors of the department you want to pitch: Health ed, Technology ed, Travel ed, etc. Check masthead in print mag, or Contact Us page on website. Try LinkedIn, Twitter. CALL the mag if all else fails. If you're afraid, call after hours to see if editor you want to pitch is still there. Even leave message! And of course, try Writer's Market, though it goes out of date quickly and you'll need to double check.

Will an editor give a writer a second or third chance if they don’t send good queries or LOIs the first few tries?

Yes! I sent some doozies to Family Circle early in career but ended up writing for them 12x and became their highest-paid writer. But take a hint. If you keep getting no response or canned rejections, move on.

Please tell us about the mentoring work you do.

Just brought back hourly phone mentoring for writers! I help with marketing plans, article ideas, writing problems, time managment and more: 

Can you tell us about “Pitch Clinic”?

Pitch Clinic is a class I co-teach that shows writers how to write queries/LOIs that get gigs. buff.ly/1VhSKLJ

We have 3 big-name mag editors on board to co-teach and critique homework: Forbes, Redbook and Writer's Digest - buff.ly/1VhSKLJ

AND have crazy money-back offer: You do all work and complete pitch challenge and get FULL REFUND buff.ly/1VhSKLJ

Last class, 2/3 of challenge participants got gigs DURING the challenge. Two were offered fulltime jobs! buff.ly/1VhSKLJ

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

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
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Wed, 02 Sep 2015 14:51:41 -0500 http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2015/09/02/queries__lois_that_sell http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2015/09/02/queries__lois_that_sell On Tuesday, Sept. 1, we hosted our latest #ConnectChat, "Queries & LOIs That Sell," with our guest Linda Formichelli. 

Formichelli has written for over 150 magazines since 1997, from Pizza Today and The Federal Credit Union to Redbook and Health. Linda runs the Renegade Writer blog, where you can sign up for free writer goodies, and co-owns UsefulWritingCourses.com.

She explained the differences bewteen queries and letters of introduction, when to use them, how to write them 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.


Linda, please tell us about yourself and your career as a writer.

Since 1997 have written for 150+ mags including Redbook, USA Weekend, Health, Writer's Digest and Family Circle.  Also copywriting clients like Sprint, OnStar, Pizzeria Uno and TripAdvisor and blogs like Copyblogger, Write to Done and Tiny Buddha. And am author of many books like The Renegade Writer and Write Your Way Out of the Rat Race...And Step Into a Career You Love. Finally, run the Renegade Writer blog at www.therenegadewriter.com and co-own www.usefulwritingcourses.com.

You’re focusing more on teaching these days instead of writing for clients – why did you decide to switch?

I bounce back and forth to keep burnout at bay. After 18 years mag writing I was ready for a change!

Writers need to diversify not only to avoid burnout, but to smooth out the ups and downs of freelance income. And I LOVE freelance life and am passionate about helping others get it. More stable career, you control your income, WAY more fun.

What are the differences between letters of introduction (LOIs) and query letters?

LOIs introduce yourself to an editor or prospect and are best for trade mags and copywriting clients.

Query letters are expected by consumer (newsstand pubs) and pitch ONE idea with research, quotes and examples. You can also use shortened version of a query letter to pitch guest posts to blogs. Bloggers are impressed with good query! Big-name bloggers like guest post queries because they usually get crappy pitches and queries are so much more pro.

New writers often confuse queries and letters of introduction (LOI) – why is that?

LOIs are easier so writers tend to want to use them but they're not too effective for big mags who are getting lots of pitches.

When should you use a query?

Queries work for all mags, but you NEED them for big consumer/newsstand pubs. They don't respond well to LOIs.

When should you use a letter of introduction?

LOIs work for trade mags, custom publications (like those you get from your bank or a local store) and businesses.

What are the basics to include in a query?

Query basics 1. Article idea that is TIMELY, NARROW and UNIQUE, and a headline that grabs the editor's attention.

Query basics 2. Intro like you would see in the magazine: Anecdote, surprising stat, etc.

Query basics 3. "Nut graf" - paragraph that sums up what is the article you're suggesting.

Query basics 3.2. A typical nut graf could end, "In my article X I'll tell readers Y. For example:"

Query basics 4. Examples of what you're offering. Like in a tip article, provide 3 of the tips with subheds and expert quotes.

Query basics 5. A creds paragraph about what makes YOU the perfect writer for this. Previous pubs, topic experience.

Query basics 6. ASK for the sale: "May I write this for you?" "What do you think of this idea for mag X?" etc. (Be creative!)

Is pitching an assignment to a pub at all similar to what a proper PR pitch to a journalist should look like?

And kinda...would have quotes, yes, but more examples. Constructed more like article.

But what if a writer has no clips (writing samples)?

Start with topic where you have personal experience, education or exclusive access to a source and write the HELL out of the query.

Can you send the same query to multiple publications?

Yes, with caveats. Have whole post on that here: www.therenegadewriter.com/2012/03/12/the...

What if you end up selling the same idea to two magazines then?

So rare! But first, do happy dance. Then, offer second pub different idea if competing, or different angle if non-competing pub.

What are the basics to include in a letter of introduction?

Info about you, what the prospect is missing (up-to-date blog posts, articles on X) and how you can provide that, IDEAS.

IDEAS are important - prospects get lots of "Here I am, hire me!" LOIs with no value or benefit to the prospect.

So for example, include 3 quick blog post/article ideas, or suggestions for how you'll improve their About Us page.

Then ASK for what you want: "May I send you some clips?" is example of a non-threatening way to get prospect to say YES.

But BE CREATIVE! Now EVERYONE is saying "May I send you some clips?" and it gets old. You're a writer! Say it fun!

What are some of your favorite writer forums?

Freelance Writers Den: freelancewritersden.com/dap/a/?a=1003&nb.... Also Freelance Success was good when I used it.

What are the biggest mistakes people make when writing queries and LOIs?

For LOIs, quick, lazy emails with no value or benefit. They say, "I'm great, hire me!" Well, EVERY pro writer is great. Trick is to think, how can u make the prospect's life easier and earn them more money? Why do they need YOU and not someone else?

Another LOI snafu is following template. You’re a writer-be creative! Use your personal style! Customize your LOI for the prospect.

With queries, BIG mistake is writing in professional, stilted style. Mag style is typically conversational and fun.

And biggest mistake is thinking LOIs/queries are too time consuming if you do them right. If you DON'T give your best effort in queries/LOIs, you won't get gigs. That's the REAL waste of time.

How long should a query be?

As long as it needs to be! Too many books/mags tell you a query needs to be no longer than one page. I call B.S.! A 3-page query got me into Woman's Day, Family Circle & Redbook..because they like DETAILS. But sometimes, especially if you know the editor, you can write a one-paragraph pitch.

Should you mention how long the article you’re pitching is in the query?

I say number one, editors know their mag better than you and two, what if you pitch a 200-word short and they see it as a feature, or vice versa? Let the editor decide how long they'd like it to be - don't give her a reason to say no!

How can you find the best editor to send your pitch to?

First, know that EIC or editorial director usually is not the person to pitch. Deputy, managing, associate editors are better. Also features editors or editors of the department you want to pitch: Health ed, Technology ed, Travel ed, etc. Check masthead in print mag, or Contact Us page on website. Try LinkedIn, Twitter. CALL the mag if all else fails. If you're afraid, call after hours to see if editor you want to pitch is still there. Even leave message! And of course, try Writer's Market, though it goes out of date quickly and you'll need to double check.

Will an editor give a writer a second or third chance if they don’t send good queries or LOIs the first few tries?

Yes! I sent some doozies to Family Circle early in career but ended up writing for them 12x and became their highest-paid writer. But take a hint. If you keep getting no response or canned rejections, move on.

Please tell us about the mentoring work you do.

Just brought back hourly phone mentoring for writers! I help with marketing plans, article ideas, writing problems, time managment and more: 

Can you tell us about “Pitch Clinic”?

Pitch Clinic is a class I co-teach that shows writers how to write queries/LOIs that get gigs. buff.ly/1VhSKLJ

We have 3 big-name mag editors on board to co-teach and critique homework: Forbes, Redbook and Writer's Digest - buff.ly/1VhSKLJ

AND have crazy money-back offer: You do all work and complete pitch challenge and get FULL REFUND buff.ly/1VhSKLJ

Last class, 2/3 of challenge participants got gigs DURING the challenge. Two were offered fulltime jobs! buff.ly/1VhSKLJ

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

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
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Upcoming Twitter Q&A: Queries and LOIs That Sell Our next #ConnectChat, "Queries and Letters of Introduction That Sell,” will feature Linda Formichelli (@LFormichelli).

Linda will answer all your freelance writing pitch questions and break down the differences between a query and an LOI -- when each one should be used, and how to use these powerful forms of marketing to help you land assignments with magazines, blogs, and businesses.

She’ll also provide information on how to participate in “Pitch Clinic,” a five-week class that goes further in-depth on this topic, and much more.

The chat will take place Tuesday, Sept. 1, from 3 to 4 p.m. EDT.

To submit questions for Linda 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.

About Linda Formichelli

Linda Formichelli has written for over 150 magazines since 1997, from Pizza Today and The Federal Credit Union to Redbook and Health. Linda runs the Renegade Writer blog, where you can sign up for free writer goodies, and co-owns UsefulWritingCourses.com.

UWC's popular Freelance Writer's Pitch Clinic class starts on Sept. 29. Writers will learn the ins and outs of writing queries and letters of introduction from two industry pros and three real-life editors, including the executive editor of Redbook and a former Writer's Digest/current Print Magazine editor.

Linda lives in North Carolina with her husband, 6-year-old ballet dancing son (which makes her so proud!), two (yes, two) exchange students, and three rescue cats. She's into sci-fi, spas, travel, foreign languages, cat rescue, and fitness.

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Thu, 27 Aug 2015 08:58:09 -0500 http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2015/08/27/upcoming_twitter_qa:_queries_and_lois_that_sell http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2015/08/27/upcoming_twitter_qa:_queries_and_lois_that_sell Our next #ConnectChat, "Queries and Letters of Introduction That Sell,” will feature Linda Formichelli (@LFormichelli).

Linda will answer all your freelance writing pitch questions and break down the differences between a query and an LOI -- when each one should be used, and how to use these powerful forms of marketing to help you land assignments with magazines, blogs, and businesses.

She’ll also provide information on how to participate in “Pitch Clinic,” a five-week class that goes further in-depth on this topic, and much more.

The chat will take place Tuesday, Sept. 1, from 3 to 4 p.m. EDT.

To submit questions for Linda 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.

About Linda Formichelli

Linda Formichelli has written for over 150 magazines since 1997, from Pizza Today and The Federal Credit Union to Redbook and Health. Linda runs the Renegade Writer blog, where you can sign up for free writer goodies, and co-owns UsefulWritingCourses.com.

UWC's popular Freelance Writer's Pitch Clinic class starts on Sept. 29. Writers will learn the ins and outs of writing queries and letters of introduction from two industry pros and three real-life editors, including the executive editor of Redbook and a former Writer's Digest/current Print Magazine editor.

Linda lives in North Carolina with her husband, 6-year-old ballet dancing son (which makes her so proud!), two (yes, two) exchange students, and three rescue cats. She's into sci-fi, spas, travel, foreign languages, cat rescue, and fitness.

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
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Mike Fitzgerald, Belleville News-Democrat 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 Mike Fitzgerald, a newspaper reporter for the Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat who has been there for the last two decades.

During his career, Fitzgerald has covered a wide range of beats, from courts and cops, to local government and schools. Right now he covers the military beat for his newspaper.

Fitzgerald received a master's degree in journalism in 1991 from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Married with three sons, Fitzgerald remains hopeful about the future of newspapers and their ability to keep serving their audiences while adapting to new technologies. 

We hope you find Mike's SPOTLIGHT both enjoyable and informative.

Where was your first job as a professional journalist?

St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press Gazette.

Was journalism what you always wanted to do or did you have other plans?

I am like a lot of journalists, I suppose.  I more or less fell into the job (and then fell in love with it) after other plans did not pan out.

What type of stories do you like to cover the most?

Complicated stories that can be told as stories with definite beginnings, middles and ends. I especially enjoy writing stories that hinge on some type of suspense --- they keep me writing and, I hope, my readers reading.

Are your stories usually assigned or do you also get to make suggestions?

I usually come up with story ideas from my work as a beat reporter.

Is there something you like best about what you do?

Leaving the office and meeting new and interesting people and then writing something that could a difference in their lives.

What advice to do you have for those in PR or anyone else who may want to pitch you a story idea?

Reporters love a good story. A story about the little guy or gal beating the odds or devising an idea that will make this a better world. If you can frame your pitch in those terms, then you are more than half-way there to winning the pitchee's heart.

What should they always do?

Life is about relationships. It really and truly is. So build a rapport, a relationship with the news media people you deal with. Make those reporters feel like you care about them as people, and pitchees second.  News reporters know that PR people have a job to do, an agenda to push, but a bonafide relationship -- built on trust and constructed over time -- will ensure the pitchee will give you a fair listen.

Never do?

Never, ever, ever, ever, insult our intelligence. Be upfront and straight with us. Don't oversell a pitch or send it to us on an airship filled with hyperbole and bombast.

How can someone in PR get to know you and develop a good working relationship with you?

Three words: lunch and coffee.

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

Respond as fast as possible to the reporter's query.

What type of experts do you like to work with?

Scientists and other types of professional researchers.

What’s most different now from when you began your career?

Whoa....Do you have a couple hours? Seriously, it's all about the clicks nowadays. Every day we are made aware of how many people have clicked on our stories and related videos and shared them with others. This has created pressures and criteria for assessing our job performances that few of us imagined even a few years ago, never mind in 1991, when I started in this business. And, of course, there is the financial situation: 25 years ago the local daily newspaper, especially if it had a monopoly position, owned a license to print money.  Almost every newspaper was making a ton of money, with profit margins in many cases big enough to put drug dealers to shame.  Now that has all changed, needless to say, which has made us all acutely aware of how expendable every one of us is. A very humbling experience.

Despite all the turmoil and uncertainty in the newspaper industry, all the constraints and hand-wringing, I am continually amazed at the number of talented, dedicated people who remain in it and the sheer excellence of the work they produce every single day. That is quite true of the newspaper where I work, as well as countless others.

How do you use social media at work?

I am constantly on Facebook to prospect for story ideas and to contact sources. I also use FB, Google Plus, Reddit and Twitter to disseminate my work and the work of colleagues.

Can you tell us about one of the most memorable moments you’ve had as a journalist?

That's the great thing about working as a journalist. You won't make much money, but you will walk away with a ton of stories to tell or relive for the rest of your life.  One of my most memorable moments, at least on a personal level, had to do with a series of stories I wrote that played a crucial role in winning the freedom for a woman with four kids who was in jail on bogus drug charges and who was on the verge of being deported. Seeing the smile on her face, the smiles on the faces of her father and mother, the smiles on the faces of her kids, when she exited the courthouse, a free woman, after nearly a year in a squalid rural jail in Missouri and knowing that I had a key role to play in all this ---- yeah, that was sweet. I've endured a lot of ups and downs in this business, especially over the last five years, but helping free that woman from captivity makes me feel it all somehow was worth it.

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

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
]]>
Fri, 21 Aug 2015 13:43:03 -0500 http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2015/08/21/mike_fitzgerald,_belleville_news-democrat http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2015/08/21/mike_fitzgerald,_belleville_news-democrat 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 Mike Fitzgerald, a newspaper reporter for the Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat who has been there for the last two decades.

During his career, Fitzgerald has covered a wide range of beats, from courts and cops, to local government and schools. Right now he covers the military beat for his newspaper.

Fitzgerald received a master's degree in journalism in 1991 from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Married with three sons, Fitzgerald remains hopeful about the future of newspapers and their ability to keep serving their audiences while adapting to new technologies. 

We hope you find Mike's SPOTLIGHT both enjoyable and informative.

Where was your first job as a professional journalist?

St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press Gazette.

Was journalism what you always wanted to do or did you have other plans?

I am like a lot of journalists, I suppose.  I more or less fell into the job (and then fell in love with it) after other plans did not pan out.

What type of stories do you like to cover the most?

Complicated stories that can be told as stories with definite beginnings, middles and ends. I especially enjoy writing stories that hinge on some type of suspense --- they keep me writing and, I hope, my readers reading.

Are your stories usually assigned or do you also get to make suggestions?

I usually come up with story ideas from my work as a beat reporter.

Is there something you like best about what you do?

Leaving the office and meeting new and interesting people and then writing something that could a difference in their lives.

What advice to do you have for those in PR or anyone else who may want to pitch you a story idea?

Reporters love a good story. A story about the little guy or gal beating the odds or devising an idea that will make this a better world. If you can frame your pitch in those terms, then you are more than half-way there to winning the pitchee's heart.

What should they always do?

Life is about relationships. It really and truly is. So build a rapport, a relationship with the news media people you deal with. Make those reporters feel like you care about them as people, and pitchees second.  News reporters know that PR people have a job to do, an agenda to push, but a bonafide relationship -- built on trust and constructed over time -- will ensure the pitchee will give you a fair listen.

Never do?

Never, ever, ever, ever, insult our intelligence. Be upfront and straight with us. Don't oversell a pitch or send it to us on an airship filled with hyperbole and bombast.

How can someone in PR get to know you and develop a good working relationship with you?

Three words: lunch and coffee.

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

Respond as fast as possible to the reporter's query.

What type of experts do you like to work with?

Scientists and other types of professional researchers.

What’s most different now from when you began your career?

Whoa....Do you have a couple hours? Seriously, it's all about the clicks nowadays. Every day we are made aware of how many people have clicked on our stories and related videos and shared them with others. This has created pressures and criteria for assessing our job performances that few of us imagined even a few years ago, never mind in 1991, when I started in this business. And, of course, there is the financial situation: 25 years ago the local daily newspaper, especially if it had a monopoly position, owned a license to print money.  Almost every newspaper was making a ton of money, with profit margins in many cases big enough to put drug dealers to shame.  Now that has all changed, needless to say, which has made us all acutely aware of how expendable every one of us is. A very humbling experience.

Despite all the turmoil and uncertainty in the newspaper industry, all the constraints and hand-wringing, I am continually amazed at the number of talented, dedicated people who remain in it and the sheer excellence of the work they produce every single day. That is quite true of the newspaper where I work, as well as countless others.

How do you use social media at work?

I am constantly on Facebook to prospect for story ideas and to contact sources. I also use FB, Google Plus, Reddit and Twitter to disseminate my work and the work of colleagues.

Can you tell us about one of the most memorable moments you’ve had as a journalist?

That's the great thing about working as a journalist. You won't make much money, but you will walk away with a ton of stories to tell or relive for the rest of your life.  One of my most memorable moments, at least on a personal level, had to do with a series of stories I wrote that played a crucial role in winning the freedom for a woman with four kids who was in jail on bogus drug charges and who was on the verge of being deported. Seeing the smile on her face, the smiles on the faces of her father and mother, the smiles on the faces of her kids, when she exited the courthouse, a free woman, after nearly a year in a squalid rural jail in Missouri and knowing that I had a key role to play in all this ---- yeah, that was sweet. I've endured a lot of ups and downs in this business, especially over the last five years, but helping free that woman from captivity makes me feel it all somehow was worth it.

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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A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Google News Lab

“Google it.”

How many times have you heard the phrase? How many times have you said it? You rarely hear “search the Internet” anymore, since Google has pretty much become synonymous with the Internet, or at least it seems that way.

Google aims to make the user experience as positive as possible, with products for the Web, mobile, business, home and office. Now they’ve come up with a way to enhance the journalist experience.

Realizing that ways of creating and sharing news changes constantly, Google released News Lab, an online network that aims to connect journalists with programs, data and other resources to aid in their reporting. The site will feature a number of tools for newsrooms, including tutorials and best practices on how to use Google products in reporting, as well as provide access to the recently updated Google Trends service, and more.

How will Google News Lab impact journalists and media outlets? We sat down with Daniel Sieberg, head of media outreach with Google News Lab, to find out.

What is News Lab all about?

The News Lab at Google is our effort to empower innovation at the intersection of technology and media. Our mission: to collaborate with journalists and entrepreneurs to build the future of media with Google. We do this through Google Tools, Data, and Programs. The News Lab engages entrepreneurs and journalists with the latest developing Google technologies to test out new applications and new ways to tell stories. And we’re constantly looking for new and innovative ideas in media, and experimenting with technologies inside and outside of Google ourselves.

How and when was the concept of News Lab born?

About a year ago, a number of us internally, led by Steve Grove, the director of the News Lab, began brainstorming on how we might unify various groups within the company that lean towards empowering journalists. I previously led a group called Google for Media, and others had interactions with newsrooms for other reasons -- many of those people had been at Google for several years and others were relatively new. But we came together under a clear mandate, and thus the News Lab was born. We only had a more public launch in late June, but we’ve been working behind the scenes for some time. 

What was your role specifically? You have a television journalism background, which must have helped in the production.

My background is actually a combination of print (Vancouver Sun), online (CNN.com, ABCNews.com), TV (CBS News, CNN, BBC) and radio (various). Initially, I was mainly focused on our media outreach efforts to train journalists on digital tools, but that’s expanded to include some of our work on experimental storytelling (VR, drones, etc.), which is a thread that runs through everything we do, and elections partnerships, which is in collaboration with other teams at Google. Others on the News Lab bring their own expertise and background to a group that’s about 10 of us right now, with hiring taking place in Europe and NYC.

What are your goals for News Lab?

Google started the News Lab because we believe that a strong and robust media ecosystem is better for people, governments, companies, societies, and the world. With the extraordinary change that technology has brought to the news and information landscape, we think the future of news depends on journalists and technologists working together to create a more informed world. At Google, we think we can play a more active and collaborative role in the development of that future -- that’s why we started the News Lab. 


Google is very supportive of quality journalism. How does the creation of News Lab tie in with Google’s mission?

Google’s mission from the very beginning has been to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. That mission not only drove the creation of Google’s Search product, but it continues to drive efforts as varied as Maps to Android to YouTube to Fiber to Project Loon to Self-driving cars.

Yet, when you really examine that mission, it’s hard to think of a more important source of information in the world today than quality news content. At its best, journalism communicates truth to power, keeps societies free and open, and leads to more informed decision-making by people and leaders. We know that our mission to make information accessible and useful to people resonates with those in the news industry, because they’ve been doing it for far longer than we have! Just in different ways.

In the past decade, better technology and an open Internet have led to a revolution in how news content is created, distributed, and consumed. Along the way, Google has created many technologies and platforms that have changed the media industry -- sometimes intentionally, sometimes not -- which has made us a player in the media landscape, even though we’re a technology company.

We realized we could be a much more effective contributor to the media industry if we created a central access point for journalists and entrepreneurs to connect with our tools, our data, and our people in order to get the most out of what Google has to offer. And we wanted to have a much more collaborative, forward-leaning effort to help build the future of the industry alongside the most innovative people and organizations in media today.

Can you give us a breakdown of the various offerings News Lab has for journalists and explain how each one can help the media?

Sure: 

  • TOOLS: The News Lab is designed to be one easy entry point for all newsrooms to discover Google’s tools that are relevant for journalists. We have a global outreach effort designed to teach journalists how to use Google to research, report, distribute and optimize their content, and we’ve developed product tutorials specifically for journalists at g.co/newslab. To date, we’ve trained 13,000 journalists in 34 countries.
(If you’re a reporter looking for expert sources, check out ProfNet, a tool that helps connect you with subject-matter experts around the globe via a simple query.)
  • DATA: We’re building a new data journalism effort within the News Lab, focused on leveraging Google data to help journalists tell stories. We believe that aggregated, anonymized Google data can shed light on the most pressing and important questions of our time, and we’re advancing our Google Trends product to help journalists tell transformative stories through our data. We’re opening up new data sets all the time at Google.com/Trends, and on our Git Hub Page -- and are always looking for new partners to work with.
  • PROGRAMS: We create programs with innovative partners to support an ecosystem of new voices in media. In particular, we focus on media startups, user-generated news content, and online content creators. We believe the media companies of tomorrow will come from the startups and innovators of today -- and we want to help them succeed.

You’ve partnered with The Center for Investigative Reporting, Storyful and Matter VC. How will you work together, and do you plan on developing other partnerships?

We’re also working with Hacks/Hackers on a series of global events to further stimulate and grow innovation in various markets and we’ve got a partnership with the European Journalism Centre that involves eight News Impact summits across Europe to provide training and thought leadership.

We also have a significant focus on highlighting/verifying UGC or eyewitness media content through efforts like First Draft and the YouTube Newswire. And we’re expanding existing programs like the Google Journalism Fellowships and the Computational Journalism Awards to more places and more people. Additional info here.

How can journalists start using News Lab today? 

I’d suggest start with the g.co/newslab site and follow us on Twitter at @googlenewslab and @googletrends.

We’re also always looking for creative ways to experiment with various tools whether through VR, drones or anything else so get in touch!

About Daniel Sieberg


Daniel Sieberg is the head of media outreach with Google News Lab, which seeks to empower storytelling at the intersection of media and technology.

Prior to joining Google in 2011, Sieberg was the technology correspondent at ABC News, CBS News and CNN, as well as a contributor to BBC News, MSNBC and PBS.

His first book, “The Digital Diet,” is about embracing a healthy approach to technology in our connected world. Sieberg has a master's degree in journalism with a focus in technology from the University of British Columbia and lives in NYC with his wife and two daughters.

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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]]>
Thu, 20 Aug 2015 13:47:13 -0500 http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2015/08/20/a_behind-the-scenes_look_at_google_news_lab http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2015/08/20/a_behind-the-scenes_look_at_google_news_lab

“Google it.”

How many times have you heard the phrase? How many times have you said it? You rarely hear “search the Internet” anymore, since Google has pretty much become synonymous with the Internet, or at least it seems that way.

Google aims to make the user experience as positive as possible, with products for the Web, mobile, business, home and office. Now they’ve come up with a way to enhance the journalist experience.

Realizing that ways of creating and sharing news changes constantly, Google released News Lab, an online network that aims to connect journalists with programs, data and other resources to aid in their reporting. The site will feature a number of tools for newsrooms, including tutorials and best practices on how to use Google products in reporting, as well as provide access to the recently updated Google Trends service, and more.

How will Google News Lab impact journalists and media outlets? We sat down with Daniel Sieberg, head of media outreach with Google News Lab, to find out.

What is News Lab all about?

The News Lab at Google is our effort to empower innovation at the intersection of technology and media. Our mission: to collaborate with journalists and entrepreneurs to build the future of media with Google. We do this through Google Tools, Data, and Programs. The News Lab engages entrepreneurs and journalists with the latest developing Google technologies to test out new applications and new ways to tell stories. And we’re constantly looking for new and innovative ideas in media, and experimenting with technologies inside and outside of Google ourselves.

How and when was the concept of News Lab born?

About a year ago, a number of us internally, led by Steve Grove, the director of the News Lab, began brainstorming on how we might unify various groups within the company that lean towards empowering journalists. I previously led a group called Google for Media, and others had interactions with newsrooms for other reasons -- many of those people had been at Google for several years and others were relatively new. But we came together under a clear mandate, and thus the News Lab was born. We only had a more public launch in late June, but we’ve been working behind the scenes for some time. 

What was your role specifically? You have a television journalism background, which must have helped in the production.

My background is actually a combination of print (Vancouver Sun), online (CNN.com, ABCNews.com), TV (CBS News, CNN, BBC) and radio (various). Initially, I was mainly focused on our media outreach efforts to train journalists on digital tools, but that’s expanded to include some of our work on experimental storytelling (VR, drones, etc.), which is a thread that runs through everything we do, and elections partnerships, which is in collaboration with other teams at Google. Others on the News Lab bring their own expertise and background to a group that’s about 10 of us right now, with hiring taking place in Europe and NYC.

What are your goals for News Lab?

Google started the News Lab because we believe that a strong and robust media ecosystem is better for people, governments, companies, societies, and the world. With the extraordinary change that technology has brought to the news and information landscape, we think the future of news depends on journalists and technologists working together to create a more informed world. At Google, we think we can play a more active and collaborative role in the development of that future -- that’s why we started the News Lab. 


Google is very supportive of quality journalism. How does the creation of News Lab tie in with Google’s mission?

Google’s mission from the very beginning has been to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. That mission not only drove the creation of Google’s Search product, but it continues to drive efforts as varied as Maps to Android to YouTube to Fiber to Project Loon to Self-driving cars.

Yet, when you really examine that mission, it’s hard to think of a more important source of information in the world today than quality news content. At its best, journalism communicates truth to power, keeps societies free and open, and leads to more informed decision-making by people and leaders. We know that our mission to make information accessible and useful to people resonates with those in the news industry, because they’ve been doing it for far longer than we have! Just in different ways.

In the past decade, better technology and an open Internet have led to a revolution in how news content is created, distributed, and consumed. Along the way, Google has created many technologies and platforms that have changed the media industry -- sometimes intentionally, sometimes not -- which has made us a player in the media landscape, even though we’re a technology company.

We realized we could be a much more effective contributor to the media industry if we created a central access point for journalists and entrepreneurs to connect with our tools, our data, and our people in order to get the most out of what Google has to offer. And we wanted to have a much more collaborative, forward-leaning effort to help build the future of the industry alongside the most innovative people and organizations in media today.

Can you give us a breakdown of the various offerings News Lab has for journalists and explain how each one can help the media?

Sure: 

  • TOOLS: The News Lab is designed to be one easy entry point for all newsrooms to discover Google’s tools that are relevant for journalists. We have a global outreach effort designed to teach journalists how to use Google to research, report, distribute and optimize their content, and we’ve developed product tutorials specifically for journalists at g.co/newslab. To date, we’ve trained 13,000 journalists in 34 countries.
(If you’re a reporter looking for expert sources, check out ProfNet, a tool that helps connect you with subject-matter experts around the globe via a simple query.)
  • DATA: We’re building a new data journalism effort within the News Lab, focused on leveraging Google data to help journalists tell stories. We believe that aggregated, anonymized Google data can shed light on the most pressing and important questions of our time, and we’re advancing our Google Trends product to help journalists tell transformative stories through our data. We’re opening up new data sets all the time at Google.com/Trends, and on our Git Hub Page -- and are always looking for new partners to work with.
  • PROGRAMS: We create programs with innovative partners to support an ecosystem of new voices in media. In particular, we focus on media startups, user-generated news content, and online content creators. We believe the media companies of tomorrow will come from the startups and innovators of today -- and we want to help them succeed.

You’ve partnered with The Center for Investigative Reporting, Storyful and Matter VC. How will you work together, and do you plan on developing other partnerships?

We’re also working with Hacks/Hackers on a series of global events to further stimulate and grow innovation in various markets and we’ve got a partnership with the European Journalism Centre that involves eight News Impact summits across Europe to provide training and thought leadership.

We also have a significant focus on highlighting/verifying UGC or eyewitness media content through efforts like First Draft and the YouTube Newswire. And we’re expanding existing programs like the Google Journalism Fellowships and the Computational Journalism Awards to more places and more people. Additional info here.

How can journalists start using News Lab today? 

I’d suggest start with the g.co/newslab site and follow us on Twitter at @googlenewslab and @googletrends.

We’re also always looking for creative ways to experiment with various tools whether through VR, drones or anything else so get in touch!

About Daniel Sieberg


Daniel Sieberg is the head of media outreach with Google News Lab, which seeks to empower storytelling at the intersection of media and technology.

Prior to joining Google in 2011, Sieberg was the technology correspondent at ABC News, CBS News and CNN, as well as a contributor to BBC News, MSNBC and PBS.

His first book, “The Digital Diet,” is about embracing a healthy approach to technology in our connected world. Sieberg has a master's degree in journalism with a focus in technology from the University of British Columbia and lives in NYC with his wife and two daughters.

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

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
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Media 411: Journalism Quotes

When you work in the media, you need a sense of humor.

Either you're the butt of a joke or you're taken seriously. It's a love/hate relationship between journalists and well, almost everybody else and journalists know this. 

However, if you're a journalist, you're almost certain there's nothing else you'd rather do for a living. It's a calling.

Here are some of the best journalism quotes I've seen lately, amusing or thought provoking to encourage you or just make you laugh:


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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Thu, 06 Aug 2015 15:29:22 -0500 http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2015/08/06/media_411:_journalism_quotes http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2015/08/06/media_411:_journalism_quotes

When you work in the media, you need a sense of humor.

Either you're the butt of a joke or you're taken seriously. It's a love/hate relationship between journalists and well, almost everybody else and journalists know this. 

However, if you're a journalist, you're almost certain there's nothing else you'd rather do for a living. It's a calling.

Here are some of the best journalism quotes I've seen lately, amusing or thought provoking to encourage you or just make you laugh:


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

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
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