Evelyn Tipacti

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

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    SPOTLIGHT: James Pilcher, Cincinnati/Kentucky Enquirer

    Friday, November 21, 2014, 1:04 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 James Pilcher, an investigative reporter for the Cincinnati/Kentucky Enquirer. He's currently the lead reporter looking into government waste and misspending, as well as data work and other issues. Please read more about James below.

    We hope you find SPOTLIGHT both enjoyable and informative.

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

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

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

    Where was your first professional job as a journalist?

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

    What type of news do you currently cover?

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

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

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

    What stories do you like covering the most?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    What they always do and never do? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    What type of experts do you prefer to work with? 

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

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

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

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

    Do you use social media as part of your job? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    About James Pilcher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Media 411: 5 Ways to Build Your Listening Skills

    Thursday, November 20, 2014, 4:24 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Photo courtesy of bing.

    As a journalist you are taught to listen but when you cover a story are you really listening or are you simply waiting to respond instead of understanding what the person you’re interviewing is trying to say?

    Falling into a comfort zone can also happen once you’ve been a journalist long enough. However, it’s necessary to improve your skills and learn new ways to get a story and get information. Listening to what’s around you is the key. But how to do that?

    The Local News Lab addressed this very topic written by Josh Stearns. He writes, “Listening is after all not a passive act, but rather an active skill that we can learn and employ strategically. As the examples above make clear there are many different kinds of listening with different goals and outcomes.”

    Stearns maps out five models for listening at the intersection of newsrooms and communities:

    • Listening to sources and interviewees: One of the most fundamental parts of journalism is listening to the sources who make up our stories. Too often, however, we turn to the same voices. Part of listening better will be listening to find new sources and looking for new perspectives. (See for example the SourceOfTheWeekTumblr run by NPR.)
    • Listening for story ideas: Journalists listen to their communities to discover new story ideas. Curious City takes this idea further by not just listening for story ideas but also listening to community priorities. Rather than an editor deciding which story gets covered, the community gets to decide. There is also interesting work happening in social listening at organizations like Upwell.
    • Listening for feedback: Listening shouldn’t stop once a story is published. Newsrooms should actively invite community feedback on stories. This goes beyond having a comment section, to actually creating venues for stakeholders to respond to the reporting in a sustained way. For example, Chalkbeat…

    To read the complete story, please click here

    Media 411: 5 Tools for Social Media Monitoring

    Thursday, November 13, 2014, 1:15 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Photo Courtesy of bing

    In previous columns I have indicated my admiration for the site journalism.co.uk. It’s a wonderful site to visit if you’re a journalist and once again, they have done a great job with writing about a topic of interest to those who work in the media. This time they write about social media monitoring and the best tools available as recommended by Storyful

    Monitoring and verifying news from social media is far from simple but the tools exist to help journalists find good information they can separate from the bad they don’t need. 

    "By effectively organizing social media you are able to listen to those conversations and exclude all of the crap that you don't really need to listen to," explained Malachy Browne, news editor at Storyful.

    Below are five tools that Browne recommends for monitoring and verifying information from social media.

    Google Maps

    Alongside establishing the original source of any information posted to social media, discovering the location of the source is also key to verifying that content, said Browne. 

    One of the ways Storyful does this is by taking note of any landmarks or distinctive buildings featured in photos and videos, and attempting to verify the location using satellite imagery from Google Maps or geo-located photographs posted online.

    "When the Iraqi military put out videos of strikes on Islamic State targets, sometimes those videos will have the latitude and longitude, or some reference to it, and we'll check the satellite imagery to make sure that they are actually bombing a place that is in Islamic State hands and that it is where it says it is," explains Browne.


    Twitter is Storyful's "primary signal" for breaking news and eyewitness media, said Browne, explaining that Tweetdeck was an essential tool for organizing and monitoring tweets.

    "By having well-curated lists, very good search terms [and] understanding the filters on Tweetdeck, that allows you to exclude a lot of the noise that you may not be interested in and focus on the beat that you're given for a particularly day," he said.

    Browne also recommended that journalists spent time and effort into curating effective Twitter lists, added that monitoring "a really tightly curated list" is very often the best way to find breaking stories.

    Storyful has curated more than 560 Twitter lists for various locations and topics, said Browne, some of which are public.

    For example, for a recent Twitter list to monitor news on Ebola he pulled in any relevant accounts from Storyful's existing location lists covering the affected areas, before contacting key agencies and organisations connected to the crisis to see what other accounts he should be following.

    "It's a bit labor intensive... but you reap the rewards from it," he said.

    To continue reading, please click here for the complete and original article from journalism.co.uk.

    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

    Insider Tips on Pitching Business Media

    Monday, November 10, 2014, 11:17 AM [General]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    The Publicity Club of New York (#PCNY) held a panel discussion with five influential business journalists about what they cover and how they like to be pitched.

    Photo Courtesy of Peter Himler, PCNY.
    (Left to Right) Nicholas Carlson, Peter Lauria, Tracy Corrigan, Tom Giles, Sandy Cannold.

    Here are just some of their suggestionswhich you should keep in mind when pitching clients to these media outlets:

    Nicholas Carlson, Chief Correspondent, Business Insider

    • Business Insider is interested in politics, lifestyle, markets – anything a professional wants to read.
    • What you think is a story, is not (necessarily) a story. We think, “What does reader want to read?” Also, “Do I want to read this on a Saturday?”
    • Get clients talking about stories, people, companies we’re interested in covering.
    • Think like a reporter – know who the power players are and let me know if you have the connections.
    • Business Insider wants entrepreneurial stories. For example, the single mom who makes millions. There’s always room for these, not just big name companies.
    • 95% of the time, announcements are not news.
    • We do focus on charts that tell a story but ones that tell a story itself.

    Peter Lauria, Business Editor, BuzzFeed

    • BuzzFeed has 175 million unique visitors a month. 75% comes from social media.
    • There are two types of business audiences: the historic business reader, someone who watches CNBC; millennials, those who read the Wall Street Journal.
    • If we get an exclusive, people are going to share it. We want exclusives and people will read them.
    • The most value someone in PR can bring is to connect me.
    • There are two types of PR people: the one-time pitch that won’t work and that won’t last and the one who reaches out and says, “I rep this company and have this guy who can talk about ‘X.’ Want to meet him?” Type two is best.
    • If you’re good at PR you will be called first since I know you’ll connect me.
    • Best exclusives include company A is buying company B as told by someone who knows but when an official announcement hasn’t been made.

    Tracy Corrigan, Digital Editor, The Wall Street Journal

    • 1, 800 staff, half are in the United States.
    • We use video by our own journalists as well as a video team.
    • When you pitch think about visuals. We don’t want a guy in a suit and tie.
    • "Think about the visual component of the story you're pitching."
    • We expect our reporters to participate in social media.
    • Find angles when you pitch. For example, how is viral marketing affecting a company? SEO?
    • We encourage reporters to have relationships with senior management, not just the executives.
    • With regards to infographics, the data has to tell a story.

    Tom Giles, Managing Editor, U.S. Company News, Bloomberg News

    • 320, 000 financial subscribers
    • Bloomberg produces more than 5,000 stories a day.
    • Take time to get to know people in the beat you cover.
    • In the era of social media there is no excuse for missending email, etc.
    • Invest the time over a long period of time to get to know the journalist as a person, not “Here’s a pitch. Cover it.”
    • Follow me on Twitter.
    • Don’t as to be connected on LinkedIn unless I know you.
    • Send emails.
    • Please don’t’ call about the email you just sent.
    • “Don’t hate me because I’m digital.” Please don’t ask for the ‘print’ person. The work we do appears across a multitude of platforms.
    • We care about startups. They give insight into companies we care about.
    • I get access from those in PR, not ideas. Be “someone in the room.” If I can’t have the CEO, give me someone who knows what’s going on.
    • We like getting access to CEO, CFO, COO, but sometimes someone on a lower scale works better.

    Sandy Cannold, Executive Producer, CNBC “Squawk Box”

    • CNBC is an investor network covering money, markets.
    • We want entrepreneurs, disruptors, interesting characters in business, big guests, news makers and breakers.
    • Have clients understand that if they’re in the rundown (map for show producers and staff that indicates what story is airing, etc.) it doesn’t meant they’ll make it to air. It’s just the reality.
    • Email is the only way to reach me, occasionally on Twitter. “Morning producers don’t sleep. “
    • No LinkedIn.
    • Big name guests go to higher end members of team so keep that in mind when you pitch.
    • We prefer to be exclusive and if we see you on a competitor, it’s not great but we at least have to be first.
    • We look for stories with great backstories. For example, ordinary people with ideas who became millionaires.
    • If a client is featured in a publication, send it to us. It will be part of the backstory.
    • We want a provocative point of view and people who are willing to express that. Those who are willing to take on companies like Apple or Netflix. That becomes a very shareable story.
    • It helps if we can call you at a moment’s notice. That’s an important layer of the relationship between journalists and PR .

     To listen to the complete panel discussion, 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


    Media 411: Do You Trust the Media?

    Thursday, October 30, 2014, 3:09 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Do you trust the media? Are you confident that the news channel or news program you’re watching is telling you the truth? Which news organization do you trust the most? Least?

    The Pew Research Center put out a report called “Political Polarization & Media Habits” that shows trust and distrust in news outlets is based on political beliefs. 

    However, the breakdown of responses is quite complex. Here’s how the Pew Research Center has analyzed them: 

    1) The full population picture doesn’t tell the whole story. If you look simply at the total percentage of online adults who say they trust a news organization for news about government and politics, several mainstream television outlets rise to the top. CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox News are all trusted by more than four-in-ten web-using U.S. adults. These high numbers, though, are intertwined with the fact that more than nine-in-ten respondents have heard of these five news sources. Trust and distrust were only asked of sources respondents had heard of, thus, the better known a source is, the more Americans in total who can voice trust or distrust of that source. A source like The Economist, on the other hand, is known by just 34% of respondents and so could never have a trust level exceeding 34% — even if everyone who had heard of it trusted it.

    2) Is a news organization not trusted? Or just not well known? An alternative way to analyze the data is to look at the percent of trust among those who have heard of the news organization. This approach means that lesser-known outlets may be seen as equally trusted as better-known outlets.

    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. 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


    Making Lateral Moves as a Freelancer

    Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 12:47 PM [#ConnectChat]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    On Tuesday, Oct. 28, we hosted our latest #ConnectChat, "Making Lateral Moves as a Freelancer," with Joanne Cleaver (@jycleaver), a freelance business journalist and author since 1981, and a strategic communication consultant who helps organizations and experts develop and deliver strategic messages that build reputation and authority.

    Joanne discussed managing time, getting clients/assignments,increasing work opportunities by making lateral moves, next month's ASJA (American Society of Journalists and Authors) Content Connections conference in Chicago and much more.

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

    Joanne, please tell us about yourself and about what you do.

    I’m a content strategy & communication consultant: Wilson-taylorassoc.com . My firm helps clients develop & deliver stories, often based on our original research. Our specialties include women in business, entrepreneurship, career pathing & communication & media training.

    I’m also a former newspaper deputy biz editor; staff content manager; & nationally published writer. And, I wrote www.thecareerlattice.com  about lateral moves for career growth. Over is the New Up!

    What’s the biggest mistake someone can make starting out as a freelancer?

    1) Not realizing that client care is 50% of your time and probably 80% of your energy. 2) Writing for love not money...you need both! 3) Saying you can write anything. You can't. Specializing is key.

    How does one go about landing their first client or their first assignment? It’s a struggle to get them even when more established.

    The sweet spot: pitch what you know that isn't being covered. Bring insight. Surprise the editor or client with a fresh take. Bring a point of view, not just facts.

    What do you suggest for managing one’s time between family, writing and other activities?

    Having it all is possible! Just define 'it all.' For me, it's a blend of creative writing, content strategy, and business writing…plus quilting. The freelance delusion that you can write while the kids play. Not. Treat your professional time as such.

    Multitasking triumph deadline bread! Here's the recipe: proof yeast in a.m. Make calls. Make dough & set to rise. Make more calls. Knead & fold into pans. Let rise. Write. Put bread in oven. Work out. Reward yourself! Start deadline bread at 9 a.m., serve warm bread to kids home from school at 3.

    How much time does one need to devote to pitching, landing a client, writing a story and starting the cycle again?

    I allow 3 - 4 months lead time from idea to payment. Now, let's break it down. Develop a unique angle for THIS client. Find the decision maker. Allow a month for the decision. Expect to evolve the idea...and your fee, as you do. I try to tee up the next assignment as I win the current one. Under promise, over deliver. I add a small extra soon after I start, such as a sidebar. Outline the project schedule & deliverables (yeah, corporate speak). Deadlines = payment.

    Check in to make sure reality matches expectations. The sweet spot: pitch what you know, that isn't being covered. Give ideas for graphics, social content. Can you refer to a designer, etc.? Deliver top journalistic quality. Corporate clients love this! Use anecdotes, short stories to illustrate data. It IS like Build A Bear! Start with a leg, add an arm. Cross sell within a company. Show client love by referring THEM to potential customers, clients.

    When it comes to money, people often have no idea what to do. How do you manage when you’re a beginner without a fixed income?

    Ebyline is a great place to gain traction. I have gained great clients through Ebyline. Specialize! OWN a topic & network with experts. Learn how at @ASJAConCon Nov. 13. Team with other freelancers for projects. Don't be the lone ranger.

    Is it easier to freelance when you already have a steady FT or PT job?

    Starting with FT or PT job gives you specialization and potential conflicts of interest. To career lattice into freelancing, build a portfolio with association projects. Association work puts you in front of trends and potential clients. Millennials can get a fast start via nonprofit work, building authority.

    Once you’ve become a more experienced freelancer, there’s still room to grow to increase your opportunities –how can someone branch out into other things while continuing to freelance?

    Freelancers must find their own lateral moves. The Career Lattice shows how. I discovered I was great at communication and media training. Expect to invest in training to build new skills. I took a train the trainer course. One caveat: many writers suck at speaking. And it's hard to get paid for speaking. Speaking requires deep knowledge plus stage presence. Writers typically have just the knowledge.

    What about former journalists who may not be looking to work as freelancers – what opportunities exist for people with their skills?

    Lateral moves are the only way. Consider research, analyst jobs in your beat. Project management skills are valuable, too. Know your core people skills for potential advocacy, communication jobs. If you think all PR jobs are 'the dark side,' you see the world only in black and white.

    You’re very involved with the ASJA. What’s your role with the organization?

    I founded and chair Content Connections, @ASJAConCon, where freelancers meet content clients. The Content Connections committee is the best!

    Can you please tell us about the upcoming conference?

    Why, yes, I can! Content creatives: learn how subject matter expertise = client cash flow. Corporate and nonprofit clients can find the writers they need for content goals. Plus: power networking, workshops, and lots of muffins. Keynote is @JayHeinrichs - smart & funny. Details at www.asjaconferences.org 

    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

    Upcoming #ConnectChat: Making Lateral Moves as a Freelancer

    Thursday, October 23, 2014, 3:34 PM [#ConnectChat]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Our next #ConnectChat, “Making Lateral Moves as a Freelancer " will feature Joanne Cleaver (@jycleaver), a freelance business journalist and author since 1981 and a strategic communication consultant who helps organizations and experts develop and deliver strategic messages that build reputation and authority.

    Joanne will discuss how to manage your time and money for sustainable growth as a freelancer, a career that requires the ability to multitask in order to be successful. She will also discuss how to make lateral moves which will give you more work opportunities and make you more marketable.

    The chat will take place Tuesday, Oct. 28 from 3 to 4:30 p.m, EDT and Joanne will be tweeting under the handle @ASJAConCon. Cleaver chairs Content Connections, ASJA's Chicago conference that focuses on digital and custom content. 

    To submit questions for Joanne 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 Joanne Cleaver

    Joanne Cleaver was a financial journalist for 25 years, including 4 1/2 years as real estate editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and 21 years as a full time freelance writer and editor. Her work has been published nationally in Inc., the Chicago Tribune, Crain's Chicago Business, Good Housekeeping, Working Woman, CBS Moneywatch, and many other outlets; she has authored seven books, most recently, The Career Lattice (McGraw Professional, 2012). Three of her books were on small business growth. 

    She leads strategic communication firm Wilson-Taylor Associates, Inc., which offers media readiness coaching and training for organizations and experts; Wilson-Taylor also designs and manages content, editorial and research projects for all media. Contact her at jycleaver@wilson-taylorassoc.com.&nb...

    SPOTLIGHT: Amir Khan, U.S. News & World Report

    Friday, October 17, 2014, 2:31 PM [Spotlight]
    3.7 (1 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 Amir Khan, a health and wellness reporter for U.S. News & World Report, where he covers a variety of health topics, including health technology, diet and nutrition and fitness, all with an eye towards helping consumers make the best possible decisions about their health. Please read more about Amir below.

    We hope you find SPOTLIGHT both enjoyable and informative.


    Have you always wanted to be a journalist or did you start out in another field? 

    I definitely didn’t know that I wanted to do journalism. I went to Stony Brook University not knowing what I wanted to do and took an entry-level journalism class because it fulfilled a requirement. I enjoyed it and decided to take another, and everything kind of fell into place from there. I can’t imagine being in a different field now though.

    Where was your first "real" job in journalism? 

    My first job out of college was writing for the International Business Times, but I consider my first real journalism job to be at Everyday Health, where I worked last year before moving over to U.S. News and World Report. That job taught me a great deal about covering health, reading studies and identifying trends.

    How did you become a health and wellness reporter? Has that particular genre been your primary focus or were you thrown into it?

    I’ve always loved health and science journalism. The New York Times’ science section was regular reading for me growing up – so when I got into journalism, it just made sense that this would be my area of coverage. My first internship was at a magazine called BioTechniques, where I did high-level science writing. After that, I interned and eventually freelanced for Popular Mechanics where I covered interesting studies and new technology. From there everything kind of rolled along to bring me where I am today.

    What type of stories do you enjoy covering the most? 

    Health technology stories are definitely my favorite – whether it’s a new kind of fitness tracker, a new treatment or a cool gadget. I’ve always been a bit of a geek, so covering this came pretty naturally to me. I’ve had a great opportunity to write about new technologies at U.S. News and I’m really grateful for that.

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

    It’s both! One thing I love about working for U.S. News is that my editor Angie lets me cover what interests me – you always write better when you’re genuinely interested in the topic at hand. I’ll pitch her stories, she’ll recommend some to me, and we figure out what we should do. It’s a real team effort to decide coverage.

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

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

    What should those that pitch you always do and never do? 

    Always check to make sure your expert is available before pitching to me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had someone pitch their expert, only to email me back and tell me they’re actually unavailable.

    Never stalk me. I’ve had PR people email me, then follow up with a call 2 minutes later and then email again if I don’t answer. Give me a little bit of time to respond.

    What's the best way for someone in PR to start a working relationship with you? 

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

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

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

    What type of experts do you prefer to work with? 

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

    What has been your most memorable or most difficult assignment? 

    One of my most memorable stories actually came just a few weeks ago. I was working on a story about healthy snacks for football Sunday, and I managed to snag an interview with the Food Network chef Robert Irvine. It was kind of surreal to me, because I’m a huge fan of his shows.

    Do you use social media as part of your job? 

    I do! Besides promoting my stories on my own personal Twitter and Facebook account, I also help manage the U.S. News social media accounts, where I promote all of our stories, blog posts and Twitter chats.

    What do you think you'd be doing if you weren't a journalist?

     I’d probably be a chef. Before going to Stony Brook, I seriously considered going to culinary school. I still love to cook though – my fiancée and I cook dinner together just about every night, and it’s one of my favorite hobbies.

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

    The biggest shift has been in how writers deal with readers. When newspapers and other outlets first moved online, it was very print-on-web. Now, the pages are more dynamic, and many have interactive charts, graphs etc. More than that though, I think journalists have finally learned that engaging with your readers is a great way to build your brand and keep them coming back to you. It’s no longer a one-way conversation. My goal as a journalist is to be the type of person people seek out to see my take on the latest health news.

    Do you have advice for someone just starting out as a journalist?

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

     About Amir Khan

    Amir Khan is a health and wellness reporter for U.S. News & World Report, where he covers a variety of health topics, including health technology, diet and nutrition and fitness, all with an eye towards helping consumers make the best possible decisions about their health. He also helps manage the organizations’ social media accounts.

    A native New Yorker, Amir grew up in the Marine Park section of Brooklyn. He attended Stony Brook University, where he obtained a B.A. in Journalism. While attending Stony Brook, he was Managing Editor of the school's online newspaper, the Stony Brook Independent. He also held three internships during his time there – Biotechniques Magazine, the New York Daily News, and Popular Mechanics Magazine.

    Prior to taking a job with U.S. News & World Report, Amir wrote for the International Business Times and Everyday Health.

    Besides writing about health, Amir is an avid homebrewer, a Mets and Jets fan and a fantasy football nut.

    Amir currently resides in Brooklyn, New York with his fiancée, Jen, their dog, Ranger, and their cats, Teddy and Moe.

    Media 411: Journalism Internship Application Season

    Thursday, October 16, 2014, 2:17 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Image courtesy of bing.

    It’s that time of year for journalism students again!

    If you're one of them, put those thinking caps on (Does anyone say that anymore?), get organized and start applying before you lose the opportunity to work for a limited time and gain valuable experience at a renowned news organization.

    Benjamin Mullin of The Poynter Institute provides a great list of internships and fellowships from around the country:

    The New York Times James Reston Reporting Fellowship
    Deadline: Oct. 31
    Location: New York City
    Pay: $1,000 per week
    Description: “Beginning with the second week, the Reston Fellows start work in a section that reflects their skills and area of interest to report and write stories under the guidance of editors or senior reporters. Some stories are assigned, but fellows are encouraged to come up with their own ideas. They also participate in workshops with ranking editors and reporters. The goal of the program is to provide an opportunity for the fellows to stretch their journalistic skills with the help of some of the best reporters and editors in the country.”

    The Washington Post
    Deadline: Nov. 7
    Location: Washington, D.C.
    Pay$750 per week
    Description: “Our interns write articles, edit copy, take photographs, design pages and produce graphics. We treat them as staff members during their 12 weeks of employment.”

    The Boston Globe
    Deadline: Nov. 1
    Location: Boston
    Pay: $700 per month
    Description: “Summer interns work as full-time employees for 12 weeks, between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Interns are paid a weekly wage, and shifts vary. An intern supervisor serves as a writing coach and there are weekly meetings with editors and staff members on a range of issues and topics pertaining to journalism.”

    Associated Press Global News Internship

    Deadline: Not settled yet; likely the first week of January, per AP spokesman Paul Colford.
    Location: Major cities throughout the world
    Pay: Not listed
    Description: “The summer 2014 Global News Internship is a paid, highly selective, 12-week individually tailored training program for students who are aspiring cross-format journalists. Interns must have experience and/or training in video and one other format. They will contribute to AP’s text, video, photo and interactive reporting.”

    The Los Angeles Times
    Deadline: Jan. 1
    Location: Los Angeles, Washington D.C.
    Pay: $700 per week
    Description: “Interested in working with some of the best journalists around? We offer 10 weeks of intensive, hands-on experience in a region where big stories are the norm. We place interns throughout the L.A. Times: Metro/Local, Sports, Business, Features (Home, Image, Travel, Food, Mind & Body), Arts & Entertainment, Editorial Pages, Washington, D.C., bureau, Photography/Video, Data Desk, Visualization & Graphics, Design and latimes.com. These are paid internships and summer placements usually run from mid-June to late August.”

    Google Journalism Fellowship
    Deadline: Around the end of January
    Location: Various journalism nonprofits throughout the United States
    Pay$8,000 for 10-weeks, plus $1,000 travel stipend
    Description: “The program is aimed at undergraduate, graduate and journalism students interested in using technology to tell stories in new and dynamic ways. The Fellows will get the opportunity to spend the summer contributing to a variety of organizations — from those that are steeped in investigative journalism to those working for press freedom around the world and to those that are helping the industry figure out its future in the digital age.”
    Disclaimer: I was a 2014 Google fellow.

    Atlantic Media Fellowship Program
    Deadline: End of February 2015
    Location: Washington, D.C. and New York City
    Pay: $25,000 per year, with full benefits
    Description: “Atlantic Media offers high-achieving recent college graduates a unique opportunity to participate in the Atlantic Media Fellowship Program. The Program is a structured, year-long paid fellowship for top-tier talent committed to editorial-side or business-side careers in media. Each year we look forward to our new class of Fellows, who add a fresh perspective and new ideas to our company initiatives. As a digital-first company, we have experienced tremendous growth as a result of emphasis on digital initiatives, and our Fellows have been key contributors.”

     To read the entire list, please click here.

    Media 411: Are You TV's Sexiest Male News Anchor? People Mag Wants You

    Thursday, October 9, 2014, 1:29 PM [Media 411]
    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    Every year People puts out its Sexiest Man Alive issue which I (and many others) look forward to eagerly every single time. They always do a great job with the publicity that leads to an announcement which is covered by almost every media outlet in the country.

    This year, People has decided to place another sexy man on the cover in addition to Hollywood’s hottest hunk. If you’re a news anchor, sports anchor or weather anchor, now’s your chance to get in on the action!

    All you have to do is tweet your choice (name and Twitter handle, if available) to @peoplemag using the #SexiestAnchorAlive hashtag. The contest runs now through Oct. 22.

    For more information, continue reading here.

    Good luck!

    Images of TV studio and cartoon courtesy of bing.

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

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