Evelyn Tipacti

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    • Title:Community Editor
    • Organization:ProfNet Connect (PR Newswire)
    • Area of Expertise:Media Relations, Hispanic Media
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    Journalist Spotlight: Christopher O'Donnell, Tampa Tribune

    Thursday, April 23, 2015, 1:39 PM [Spotlight]
    0 (0 Ratings)

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

    This SPOTLIGHT belongs to Christopher O'Donnell, the Tampa city hall reporter at the Tampa Tribune, the second largest daily newspaper in Florida. 

    A proud Brit and Londoner, O’Donnell moved to Florida in 2001 and abandoned a career in programming to go into journalism.

    He also covers the Tampa Bay Rays’ battle to get out of their stadium contract at Tropicana Field.  Before moving to the Tribune, he was the education reporter for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune where his reporting on the poor behavior of some substitute teachers led the school district to tighten its hiring and retention rules.

    His beat reporting was recognized as among the best in the state by the Florida Society of News Editors.

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

    Christopher, you originally had a career in programming – what led you to journalism?

    Programming was a job I fell into by chance and one that I thrived in despite my mediocre math skills. Moving to the United States, gave me the opportunity to pursue a new career. I had always loved writing and choose journalism because it combined that with my passion for current affairs and politics.

    What challenges did you face when you left London to work here in the United States?

    Like driving on the right, it was relatively easy to adapt to the different spelling and that singular nouns take singular verbs even if they imply more than one person. What took a while, however, was to figure out how government, elections and politics work here. The idea that a sheriff or a school superintendent is elected is still somewhat strange. The biggest difficulty was understanding the culture well enough that I can confidently use cultural touchstones in my writing. Imagine an Englishman barely acquainted with baseball with being asked to convey the significance of Opening Day at Tropicana Field. That was me. I will confess that the odd phrase of English-English does slip into my copy. Carpark anyone?

    Can you tell us about your first job as a professional journalist?

    I was hired by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune following a successful internship. After a couple of months of being a GA, I was assigned a geographical beat covering a rural old-Florida community upon which development was encroaching. It was tough as there was no press releases, arrest records or meeting agendas to prompt stories. But I unearthed amazing stories like a woman who entered a contest to train a wild mustang in 100 days and a man who won the gig to design the showjumping obstacles for the Beijing Olympics. The beat taught me how to talk to people and show an interest in their community. I learned that stories can be gleaned over coffee (well tea for me), in the thrift store or on the church doorstep. 

    What news do you currently cover?

    My current beat is covering Tampa city hall, a beat that include politics, budget, transportation, emergency services, real estate development, culture and the regeneration of the city’s poorest areas. I also cover the Tampa Bay Rays stadium dispute with the City of St. Petersburg.     

    Are your stories usually assigned or do you make suggestions as to what you cover?

    I come up with about 98 percent of my stories.  It’s usually only on the rare days that I’m not elbow deep in a story that my editor might ask me to pick something up.

    What stories do you like covering the most?

    It’s hard to choose one. I like feature stories because they usually allow more creativity in the telling. I like the rush of breaking news. I like picking up a complex issue and breaking it down for our readers.

    Is there something in particular you like the most about what you do?

    I never know when I leave for work exactly how I will be spending my day. Plans are rearranged at a moment’s notice when news breaks and that keeps everything fresh and exciting.

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

    Think about why your story would interest the general public. Are you sending out a release because it’s your job or because you really have a story to tell? Some press releases that come across my desk would only be of interest to a specialist niche.  Repeated emails from the same company that are of no interest eventually get spam filtered or deleted without reading.

    If someone’s pitching you, what should they always do and never do?

    Keep a press release short and to the point. Remember we’re in the news game so put what is new or important in the title or high up in the release. Editors go gaga over nutgrafs that include the words “biggest,” “first,” “fastest,” “only,” so figure out what is unique or different about your company, product or event and tell me that. 

    How can someone reach out to you to start a good working relationship?

    A phone call is usually best as I receive hundreds of emails every day. But do some research in advance. I’m a city hall reporter so don’t make me feel bad by having to tell you I have no interest whatsoever in your virtual education conference.

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

    I know it’s hard but please try not to use jargon in interviews. If I’ve done my research, I can usually keep up but I’m also looking for quotes I can use in my story.  The best sources are those who can talk in lay terms. Avoid pseudo talk and terms like “synergistic.” Please.

    What type of experts do you prefer to work with?

    University professors tend to be good sources. They typically have a genuine interest in the subject and are honest when asked a question they are capable of answering.  Consultants or authors can be excellent sources but sometimes give the impression they just want to get their company name out there.

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

    I had heard gossip that the legal department of the school district I covered was expensive and wasteful but proving that was not easy. After using outside attorneys for years, the district had created its own legal department arguing that the move would save money and provide a better legal service. I went through budget records going back six years and found that not only did costs soar to pay for two staff attorneys and two legal aides but that, even with in-house staff, the district continued to spend more than $100,000 per year on outside attorneys.

    Is there a best part to being a journalist and having your specific role?

    Covering a city as large as Tampa involves so many different communities, each with a different history and character, and all with different needs. Being in Florida also means there is no end of out-there stories to spice things up.

    Do you use social media at work?

    Facebook and Twitter are now inextricably woven into my day. Elected officials, like anyone else, can’t help but tell the world about their doings and all kinds of news ensues. 

    What has changed from when you began your career?

    To the benefit of all, many more public agencies now post records online such as city budgets and code enforcement violations. Social media has made it easier for grass-roots groups and activists to communicate to a wider audience and have a bigger impact on issues.  That has made it easier for journalists to find non-official sources, a definite benefit.

    Finally, what do you like to do when you’re not at work?

    Hard to switch off when you have this job but I love spending time with Maya, my 12-year-old daughter, and my girlfriend, Tiffany. I am a football (soccer) fanatic so an indulgent couple of hours for me is watching NBC’s coverage of games from England while drinking tea. I also love cycling, movies, curry and reading.

    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


    PR 411: Tips for Getting Hired in PR

    Thursday, April 16, 2015, 5:05 PM [Media 411]
    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    Who doesn’t want to work for a great PR company? If you’re looking for work in the field, Charles Lankester, senior vice-president with Ruder Finn, provides 11 tips for PR job-seekers.

    PR Week’s article, “How to get hired by a PR firm in 2015,” shares Lankester’s advice, also seen here below:

    Over the past week I heard of two cases where very academically bright candidates delivered poor quality (read: dreadful) interviews. Book smart and street stupid is a dangerous combination in 2015, in any industry. I thought I would share a few notes on how to maximize your chances of getting hired into a PR firm.

    1.    Understand what public relations is in 2015. It’s not about building relationships, events or making connections. It’s increasingly a data-driven, carefully planned and strategic business that should deliver measurable business outcomes.  You must be able to define public relations from an industry standpoint—and ideally offer your own definition.

    2.    Understand the industry. Read the trade media. Learn about the latest campaigns, client moves, industry trends, client wins and losses. Get to know the industry lexicon. Have an opinion on campaigns. Did any of them impact or impress you? Why? Why not? Again, it is vital to have a point of view.

    3.    Research your potential employer. Find out where they do business, who are their biggest clients and research their strategy/positioning. Immerse yourself in their world. Research and understand their product and service names. Find out about their latest developments, people moves, hires, client wins. The more you sound like an insider, the more impressed we will be.

    4.    Getting the interview. It’s always better to be introduced via a friend of the firm or a client, but we tend to be a fairly egalitarian industry. We have also all "been there" looking for work. Hint: research the CEO/MD of the office where you want to work and email her/him directly. Establish yourself as an individual with the boss vs. be one of many CVs sent to him/her by the HR department. Hint: Don’t wait for a job to be advertised! If you like and respect the firm, write in and seek an interview. This kind of "can do" initiative and approach always impresses.

    5.    Social and digital insight. You must understand this area and have a point of view. What new knowledge or insight can you bring? What are the hot three social media platforms in China that we should care about? Why? If you write a thought piece like this you will automatically be in the Top 5 percent of candidates. But is has to be good and it has to be original! We also look carefully at your social media profile, so have a decent LinkedIn, Facebook and/or Twitter presence.

     6.    Make a big effort with your first communication. Be memorable.

    To continue reading, please click here.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. All you have to do is fill out a quick form telling us what you’re looking for, your deadline, and how you want to be contacted, and we’ll send it to the appropriate experts in our network. The best part? It’s free! Get started here: Send a query.

    Media 411: Instagram for Journalists

    Thursday, April 9, 2015, 5:54 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Are you a journalist who doesn't use Instagram?

    You may be a bit apprehensive and may not want yet another tool to learn. If you don’t use Instagram, below are several articles that may change your mind.

    Instagram can be an excellent tool for journalists:

    Are you a writer in need of experts? Send a ProfNet query -- it's easy and free! Just submit your request here: Send a query.

    Transitioning to Freelancing and Book Writing

    Thursday, April 2, 2015, 2:39 PM [#ConnectChat]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    On Tuesday, March 31, we hosted our latest #ConnectChat, "Transitioning to Freelancing and Book Writing," with Randy Dotinga (@rdotinga), president of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA -- @ASJAhq).

    Randy discussed the difficulties writers face when embarking upon a freelance career, the financial preparations that are important to make, time management and first steps.

    He also touched upon how an expert should approach writing a book for the first time and many other issues facing those who want a career as a freelance writer. 

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

    Randy, can you please tell us about yourself?

    I've been a full-time freelance writer since 1999. Before that, I was a daily newspaper reporter. It's amazing that I've been doing this since 1999, considering that I'm only 25 years old. But moving on...

    I'm now president of @asjahq. We're 1,200 freelance writers and non-fiction authors from North America and beyond. We think of ourselves as the voice of independent writers and a resource to help writers survive and thrive.

    What is the most difficult part about transitioning to FT freelance writing?

    Having to hustle in a very different way than you do in a newsroom. Personal connections are more important too. It can be difficult for writers who are used to a lot more structure and predictability.

    Is there something people making the transition should expect that they may not have thought about before?

    Be ready to keep track of finances in a whole new way. You are now a business & need to think like one re: taxes, etc.

    How should one start preparing financially for the switch?

    Save money! Get your health insurance in order if you’re leaving a job. Understand how self-employment taxes work. An accountant can be helpful, although you may not need one, since you’ll be making quarterly tax payments.

    Can you please elaborate?

    If you have a staff job, you pay taxes every paycheck. The IRS wants taxes over year from self-employed types too! When you're self-employed, you pay taxes quarterly. You estimate how much you owe & write a check to our pals at IRS.

    Is a 100% switch necessary or can you adequately work as a freelancer while also pursuing other interests?

    You can definitely be a part-time freelancer, and lots of people do that. No need for full-time!

    What sort of business savvy do you have to have to be a freelancer?

    You need to always think about the money you’re making: Are you making enough per week, per month, per year? Know about business expenses and how to take every single one that you can: Conferences, books & magazines, your phone

    Time management is very important – what advice do you have for those who may not have great time mgmt. skills?

    I’m not the best person to ask, since I’m pretty ADHD. (SQUIRREL!) But...

    If you don’t have good time-management skills, set a firm schedule. 9-5 weekdays, maybe. Make yourself follow rules.

    Should you quit your job before starting or is a building a base a better idea first?

    Definitely build a base! Use all the free time you have: Time before and after work, vacations, weekends. Some people don’t want to spend the time since they don’t want to be working all the time. Too bad. You have to do it.

    What advice can you give an individual leaving college and pursuing a career as a journalist?

    I'd suggest a staff job. You learn so much on the job that's crucial for a journalism career!

    Journalists who’ve never freelanced often don’t know how to get started with a freelance career. What’s the first thing they need to do?

    Go to a writers conference like ASJA’s, coming up April 30-May 2 in NYC! Other conferences are almost as good. If you can’t go to a conference, download conference recordings to give you insight. Did I mention that it's important for freelancers to be self-promotional at all times?

    What sort of topics are covered at these conferences?

    We talk about networking, marketing, craft of writing & making it in various genres of journalism. It's a mix of sessions about the business and the art of freelancing (and book writing too).

    How can you make yourself stand out from so many other writers?

    Make editors’ lives easier: Have good pitches. Be reliable. File your stories on time. Be low on drama.

    What are some of the top mistakes that writers make when they try to transition into freelancing?

    Don’t forget the personal touch. 99% of my work has come because I knew someone or knew someone who knew someone. If you work in isolation & are constantly cold calling (or cold e-mailing) editors, it's very tough to break out. It makes a big difference to an editor when you can drop a name in the subject line of an email pitch. You stand out.

    Doctors, professors and many other experts want to write their own books but also don’t know what first step to take. What do you suggest?

    Think about your expertise. If you’re a doctor, you need a medical writer. You could try the Health Writers Association. There are associations (with author/freelance members) for just about every genre of journalism. ASJA is made up of all types of independent writers, so you could try us to get hooked up with a writer.

    How do people transition from freelancing into book writing?

    One big tip: Learn how things work: Understand what a book proposal is. Don’t write the whole book first. Write about a topic you’ve already written about. Draw upon your existing work and save time.

    What sorts of journalists should NOT try for a freelance career?

    Those who aren’t flexible, who like things very planned-out and predictable.

    How do you make personal connections when you have a staff journalism job?

    Conferences are important to help you meet editors. But you can also use social media to meet editors and writers. Remember, it's important to meet writers too. Other writers are often the source of tips about freelance gigs.

    I think there's a misconception out there that freelancers don't usually like to help other freelancers, perhaps due to fear of competition. What's your perspective?

    True to an extent. But many successful freelancers are generous, and not just to be goody-goody. Connections=success. Also, freelancers can't take every gig they hear about. We often refer editors to other writers. For example, you may get offered a story for Cat Fancy but you're allergic to cats. You can pass it on.

    Is it possible to make a living as a freelancer?

    Yes! It's an absolute myth that it's impossible. We have members making 6 figures a year. Not everyone will succeed at freelancing. It's hard work. But plenty of writers survive AND thrive.

    Randy, can you please tell us a bit more about the ASJA conference in NY? Website? Registration info?

    It's from April 30-May 2 in Manhattan. The public is invited! For schedule and registration: www.asjaconferences.org/asja2015/ 

    Are you a writer in need of experts? Send a ProfNet query -- it's easy and free! Just submit your request here: Send a query.

    PR 411: Ways to Get New Clients

    Friday, March 27, 2015, 1:15 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Who doesn’t love a list of lists, right?

    This week’s PR 411 wants to help you get customers!

    With that in mind, we’ve created a list of ten articles from the web that give their suggestions for acquiring clients.

    Whether you're in PR or another industry, these articles are sure to give you some ideas. Good Luck!


    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. All you have to do is fill out a quick form telling us what you’re looking for, your deadline, and how you want to be contacted, and we’ll send it to the appropriate experts in our network. The best part? It’s free! Get started here: Send a query.

    Upcoming #ConnectChat: Transitioning to Freelancing and Book Writing

    Thursday, March 26, 2015, 9:59 AM [#ConnectChat]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Our next #ConnectChat, “Transitioning to Freelancing and Book Writing" will feature Randy Dotinga (@rdotinga), president of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA).

    Journalists who’ve worked in the business for years who may find themselves out of work or needing more income may not know how to get started in the world of freelancing. This #ConnectChat will partially focus on helping current journalists get writing assignments or even start full-time freelance writing careers.

    Experts will also want to consider joining the #ConnectChat as Randy will address the issue of breaking into book writing if one is an expert looking to become an author.

    Randy will be using the ASJA handle, @ASJAhq during the chat.

    The chat will take place Tuesday, March 31, 2015, 3-4 p.m, EDT.

    To submit questions for Randy in advance, please email profnetconnect@prnewswire.com or tweet your question to @ProfNet or @editorev.

    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 Randy Dotinga 

    Dotinga, a journalist with more than two decades of professional experience, has written for dozens of magazines, newspapers and online news sites.

    He is president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors, a non-profit organization devoted to serving freelance writers and book authors.

    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

    Journalist Spotlight: Kristi Gustafson Barlette, Times Union

    Friday, March 20, 2015, 12:29 PM [Spotlight]
    0 (0 Ratings)

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

    This SPOTLIGHT belongs to Kristi Gustafson Barlette, an editor at the Times Union, a Hearst publication in upstate New York where she recently became the real estate and Solutions editor.

    Previously, her “On the Edge” blog on TimesUnion.com was the region’s most widely read lifestyle and pop culture blog. She's won multiple awards for blogging and writing, including first place in the American Association of Sunday and Features Editors Excellence in Feature Writing and first place in the state Associated Press award for blogging. She has numerous “Best Of” honors for blogging, reporting and Tweeting.

    Her Life 3.0 column, focused on issues facing thirty-somethings, often appeared in large metro papers such as the Detroit Free Press, the Miami Herald and the Houston Chronicle. 

    Kristi has a weekly segment on WFLY-FM, the area’s top 40 radio station, where she talks about everything from fashion and relationships to pop culture and social media. 

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

    Did you always want to be a journalist?

    No. When I was really young, I aspired to be a veterinarian, but severe allergies (and a weak interest in science) put the kabosh on that one. In eighth grade, I attended a day-long program for girls and heard NBC’s Chris Jansing (Chris Kapostasy, at the time) speak. She was a local TV journalist who talked about how each day was different, and exciting, and how she was always learning. She also shared stories of the people she met, and the experiences she had, including a bit about riding in a helicopter with her feet hanging down, nearly brushing the tops of trees. I got home from school that day and told my parents I wanted to be a journalist.

    Can you tell us about your first job as a professional journalist?

    I worked as an editorial assistant in the features department at the Times Union right out of college. I did all the things you may expect -- filing, sorting mail, answering phones, compiling calendars -- but also took on every story I could get. If no one else was interested, I’d volunteer. This lead me to write about everything from potholes to potheads to pot racks. Seeing my first byline in print was, possibly, more exhilarating than if my feet were brushing tree tops.

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

    The wonderful thing about social media is we know -- instantly -- what people care about. What they’re thinking. What matters. I love telling the stories that resonate with readers -- stories that make them think and, perhaps, cause them to alter their view or opinion.

    In the more traditional sense, everyone, truly, has a story. Sometimes you just need to dig a little to find out what that tale may be. Sharing the trials and triumphs of everyday people who live in our area (or have a connection to the region) is enriching.

    You work for the Times Union and also have a radio segment on WFLY – what do you like most about each medium?

    With print journalism you have the time -- and space -- to explore topics at a deep, rich level. Thanks to blogs, you can have an ongoing dialogue with readers -- sometimes that dialogue lasts for days, even weeks.

    Radio is live and fast-paced and you have to be quick-witted. I thrive on the “nerves” that can crop up seconds before you’re on-air. The entertainment value that (naturally) comes with live banter is awesome.

    In both mediums, one of the greatest compliments is “you make me laugh.” That, for my beat, is a success.

    Do you make suggestions regarding the stories you cover or are they assigned to you most of the time?

    A little of both. Editors love when you have a suggestion, but they also appreciate a writer willing to tackle a topic or subject they assign.

    Is there a best part to being a journalist and having your specific role?

    Like Chris Jansing said nearly two decades ago, journalism really is different every day. I thrive on the unknown, and love a job that sometimes (often?) causes me to pivot. Your brain is always working, and thanks to social media, email, etc. you’re in a position where you pretty much always know what your “customer” (the reader) thinks. Feedback is essential to success so I love that we now have the platforms that make this instant interactivity possible.

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

    If it’s got a local tie, tell us that in the subject line of your email (we love local). Creative ideas that spin off of current events are always welcome. Do some quick research on the writer before sending your pitch. Resist putting the “urgent” status on email. Keep the initial message short and on-topic (bullet points highlighting the details are extraordinary).

    What should they always do and never do?

    Other than what I said in the question above, by all means, please, please, please do not sign your email XOXO. (I see this more often than you would imagine).

    How can someone in PR get to know you and develop that important connection so that trust can be built?

    Social media connections are invaluable. Follow writers and editors on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Connect with them on LinkedIn. Establish a professional relationship outside of the pitch. That way, when you do propose a topic, your name/company is familiar.

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

    Offer a sentence, or three, giving the reporter an idea of your client’s position on the topic. Just saying so-and-so is a psychologist with 20 years experience doesn’t show much. But, if you say all that and add a short paragraph outlining where the expert stands on the subject the reporter is covering, the writer can better decide if the expert may be a good fit.

    What type of experts do you prefer to work with?

    I’ve yet to find any group of experts off-putting. It’s less about the type of expert, and more about the person. Some experts approach their pitches better than others (ex: reaching out when you aren’t well versed on the topic doesn’t really benefit you, or the writer).

    Can you tell us about your favorite or most challenging assignment?

    Challenges on the front-side (AKA during the reporting) are often mitigated by a good editor. I’ve been really, really lucky to have amazing editors.

    The challenges I notice are those that happen after the story runs -- the ones you don’t expect. Many years ago I wrote about laser hair removal and the art/illustration was a (modest) two-piece bathing suit hanging on a clothesline. People declared me immoral and disgusting and called for my job (they didn’t think we should write about hair removal, especially of the bikini line-kind). Another time, I blogged about a roadside memorial, and had readers threaten me physically. Death threats happen, and they don’t get less scary. I’ve been criticized for everything from my appearance to my views to the clothes I wear or the car I drive to the topics I cover or how well I write. While you can certainly “shut out” those views, you don’t want readers to feel you don’t respect their position, or that they’re being ignored. Finding a balance is tough, and often challenging.

    How do use social media at work?

    Social media is excellent for crowdsourcing, understanding what interests readers most and even finding expert sources or story ideas.

    If someone want to contact you, what’s the best way to do so?

    Email:

    Twitter -- @JustKristi

    Facebook -- Facebook.com/JustKristiOnline

    Website -- JustKristi.com

    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

    Media 411: Are Corporate Writers Journalists?

    Thursday, March 19, 2015, 3:09 PM [Media 411]
    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    What is a journalist? Is it a newspaper columnist? A TV news anchor? A radio news producer? An investigative reporter? Although the media industry has changed significantly in the past 10 years, our vision of what describes a journalist may still be the same. In present day 2015, journalists can report and/or write for a variety of outlets, and one gaining popularity is writing for a company news site, a.k.a. “brand journalism.”

    While I’m not a fan of using titles, I’ll nonetheless use this one just for the sake of context. Brands are realizing the potential in reaching clients or potential customers via their own news sites and are investing in creating their own newsrooms. Whether it’s to educate people about the company, the industry or get sales leads, this is a new way to spread the word.

    Some might say that people writing for these company news sites are not journalists and are instead marketers, but many of those being hired by companies to write their content are legitimate journalists. Who better to tell a story? People love a good story, so connecting with customers in this way makes great sense, especially if a journalist is known for their trade.

    It’s no secret news outlets are shrinking and shutting down. As I write this, two media companies announced this afternoon that they’re shrinking their staff. Where are these journalists to go if they can’t retire? They can’t all become freelancers. Some will switch careers and some will likely work for a company as a “corporate journalist.”

    But not all journalists have to accept the trend. There are journalists who may not like the idea of writing for a company news site -- and that’s alright. Some just may not like writing or developing content for a company that isn’t associated with media. It’s not a newspaper, online news site or a TV news station, so they’re not comfortable with it.

    What I’m trying to convey is that we can’t judge journalists who go from working on hard news stories to working on a company news website. We all need to work, and no one should be judging someone on their choice of employment, especially if traditional journalist roles are becoming tougher to find. Whether or not you’re for or against the situation, let’s give these folks a break.

    What’s your opinion?

    Please let me know in the comments section or feel free to contact me directly: evelyn.tipacti@prnewswire.com

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. All you have to do is fill out a quick form telling us what you’re looking for, your deadline, and how you want to be contacted, and we’ll send it to the appropriate experts in our network. The best part? It’s free! Get started here: Send a query.

    PR 411: Instagram Popular for Brands

    Thursday, March 12, 2015, 2:52 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    How many of you are using Instagram to help boost your brand’s visibility? If you're not using it yet, consider the benefits it's providing others.

    Adweek published a report earlier this week on the popularity of Instagram and the incredible success brands like Christian Louboutin have had using it and why brands are starting to post more there than on Facebook.

    Here’s Garett Sloane’s report:

    Instagram is luring brands away from Facebook, according to a new report from research firm L2, which found that brands now post more content on the photo-sharing app.

    The reason? Brands know everything they post on the platform will appear in fans' feeds,the study says. But on Facebook, if brands don't pay to promote their posts, much of their content doesn't appear in followers' News Feeds. That trend is turning Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, into a growing marketing force. 

    The report outlines how brands have been building their followings on the app, which recently topped 300 million monthly users. Facebook does not comment on Instagram's growth outside of official announcements. However, considering the Instagram audience was 100 million two years ago, that tripling of users approaches Facebook's biggest leaps. Facebook went from 100 million to 300 million in an even shorter time span.

    Another reason Instagram is a marketing darling at the moment is it's attracting...

    To real the complete story, please click here.

    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

    Pitching to National Morning and Daytime TV Talk Shows

    Friday, March 6, 2015, 12:31 PM [General]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    The Publicity Club of New York held yet another fantastic and sold out panel luncheon last week featuring some of the most prominent journalists in daytime television. The panel consisted of:

    Debbie Kosofsky


    • Looks for content for the 8 a.m. hour.
    • First hour is news, second has more lifestyle and the third is more fun.
    • Loves to receive pitches.
    • Her team reads off pitches and tried to respond to everyone.
    • Pitch helps if it has a staff member’s name because it makes them feel as if you know them.
    • Never hesitate to call front desk and ask for a producer’s name.
    • Follow the four ‘T’s:’
      1. Timely. Make sure it’s topical and relevant. It sets tone for show you’re sending to.
      2. True to show.
      3. To the point. “Just let me know objective of the pitch – why I should be interested and why it’s right for TODAY.
      4. Talent.
    • “If we don’t get back to you right away it’s no reflection on you and do a follow-up.”
    • Send pitch to them first.
    • She may introduce you to a producer more fitting to your pitch if it’s not right for her.
    • She accepts outside b-roll but as far as using it on the air really is case by case.
    • If you’re pitching a guest, always attach a link to previous TV appearances.
    • If you have a great expert or person you think would work for show, they’re happy to take a look.
    • Her staff works closely with digital team. Consider pitching them and they’ll forward what they think is good for broadcast.
    • TODAY and other morning shows may share a story but won’t share the same guest so you won’t see the same guest back to back on one show and then another.
    • At times will have a great story but mediocre guest. Segment may be taped and not air live. A sound bite will be recorded and then they will edit story.
    • Sponsors work best for third hour as it leads to Hoda and Kathie Lee.
    • Debbie loves getting pitches for sponsored segments but they’re for the later hour of the show.

    Melissa Lonner


    • Looks for celebrity news.
    • Experts can feel free to call if they have a point of view.
    • Show tapes on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
    • If you call when making a pitch, make sure it’s less than a minute. If you need more time, it’s not suitable for TV.
    • Don’t pitch on voicemail. She’s had ten minute pitches left on voicemail which she has always deleted.
    • If you email, should take 30 seconds to read.
    • No attachments.
    • Don’t overhype. “This is the next Whitney,” for example. You lose credibility.
    • Follow up with email.
    • The worst thing you can do is stop me and grab me and say since you provided experts/guests or whatever it may be that I’m supposed to owe you for it.
    • Audience is 25-54 and has highest income of any daytime syndicated show.
    • Be able to speak like us and not use jargon. Too technical, for example.
    • Stories have to “live” since it’s a syndicated show so they need to be more generic. A segment for mothers makes more sense than a Mother’s Day segment.

    Jesse Rodriguez


    • Morning Joe, 6-9 a.m.
    • Interested in experts, news makers, and new faces -- those beyond politicians.
    • Medical and scientific ideas.
    • Authors and writers. If you represent an author, let him know.
    • Don’t be shy to email and resend things.
    • Open to business executives, CEO’s, women in power.
    • Big Twitter advocate. Something may get his attention on Twitter.
    • “Tweeting articles where clients are mentioned is smart.”
    • We focus on those who make decisions – influencers, mayors, etc.
    • We want to get attention of those who are on the treadmill at 5 a.m.
    • Always looking for sponsors.
    • If you have someone who feels strongly on specific issues like immigration or technology, let him know.
    • Guests are sometimes shared on other NBC channels. Guest may start on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ then go to ‘Squawk Box’ on CNBC or ‘TODAY.’
    • We want to see what the guest you’re pitching is like on TV. They don’t want someone who clams up or is shy.

    Carl Leibowitz


    • ‘Wake Up With Al’ airs from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m.
    • Interested in pop culture.
    • Always interested in anything weather related like climate change, for example.
    • Stories related to weather issues like heat stroke or effects of shoveling are also of interest.
    • He books guests so contact him directly.
    • Guests should be able to play, show personality.
    • People who can have a good back and forth conversation are always needed.
    • Sponsored segments are also welcome.

    Sarah Kunin

    • Develops segments and pitches stories to the second hour senior producers.
    • Assigned to work with Michael Strahan.
    • Make sure you watch the show. If you have an idea and see a fit, tell them where it fits in show specifically.
    • If there’s something “stunty” and physical for anchors to do, she wants to know about your idea.
    • It's best to put all producers on one email rather than send them ideas individually.
    • Keep pitch to a few lines.
    • If you’re pitching a chef, they have to offer something exciting and has to really stand out since GMA has their own chefs.
    • If you have a doctor who has a unique study or an innovative procedure, please reach out to their medical unit. 
    • If you are pitching stories, please email the idea first and follow up as needed.
    • Wants cutting edge trends.
    • Always be aware of what’s trending.
    • No sponsored by a brand surveys are accepted.

    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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