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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    How to Get the Attention of Global Media

    Wednesday, February 18, 2015, 3:00 PM [#ConnectChat]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    On Tuesday, Feb. 17, we hosted our latest #ConnectChat, "How to Get the Attention of Global Media," with Colleen Pizarev (@cpizarev), vice president of communication strategies at PR Newswire.

    Colleen discussed specific strategies in working with journalists in different locations including Asia and Europe, for example. From appropriate times to send a release to language differences and preferences, Colleen addressed topics that will help anyone working with international media outlets.

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

    Can you please tell us about your role at PR Newswire?

    I work with companies and agencies all over the world on communicating #globally. Getting the most out of a press release, PR as #DemandGen, and #crisiscommunication is all a part of what I do.

    What are the biggest differences when reaching out to a global audience?

    You must speak to the local audience. Very few 'global' releases work. If you make it too generic it rarely works. Speak to the local audience directly in headline, first paragraph and quote at the very least. Make sure your message shows you're talking to the audience in that country. Mention country name in headline and quote.

    Does a news release or communication need to be in a country’s specific language?

    Yes. Language is very important for engagement and search. Readers may understand English, but they rarely search in it. Journalists also may understand English, but most write in their own language. Providing a release they can use is clutch. Sending news only in English is considered arrogant in many cultures. If you want coverage, you need to play by their rules. If you want engagement, you must write in the language of your audience. Period.

    Language is tricky in the sense that others may find a word or phrase offensive. With what does one need to be most careful so as not to offend?

    Check with your local offices, agencies, distributors or a translator to make sure you aren't including anything wrong. It's always a good rule to stay away from colloquial English phrases that are not strictly necessary in press releases. Keep it simple to make it much easier to translate. Global messages that are easy to read and understand do best. Even when sending to the UK you can get in trouble. I like using Google Trends to see what may not work. Simple everyday phrases we use in the US will not work in UK English - they have double meaning or different entirely.

    Colleen, can a US-based agency successfully engage with UK media, without using a UK-based agency?

    It is possible. Working with UK media is similar to US media, but the message must be tailored to the UK market. Be sure your pitch letters and release make it clear your message is for the readers of the UK publication. Be available during their time of business and don't pitch too late in the day. Be aware of editorial calendars and deadlines. Don't use the same pitch as you do for the US. Look at what is written at the UK pubs and adjust accordingly. Get a good media database and send in the way the journalist wants to receive. Not all like phone calls. Never call and ask a UK journalist if he/she received a release. That is not acceptable.

    Are there other tips on pitching UK media?

    Keep the UK message and the pitch short - even shorter than here in the US. Make sure any image or infographic is UK oriented. Check spelling on captions and infographic.

    Make sure release spellings are UK English. Set spellcheck to UK English and run it, accepting any changes.

    What’s a good translation service? People worry they’ll get email from journalists in a language they cannot read.

    There are many good translation services. Make sure translators are all located in country. PR Newswire can recommend good translators to you. We have a huge network we use for press releases, and I'm a tough client. If you get email from journalists, have it translated, and then translate your response. You can also respond back in English and see what happens. Sometimes they can read English better than compose. It also depends on the country - some countries it's more acceptable to communicate back and forth in English. If you get a journalist responding to you at all, that is a good thing - having to translate your response is minor issue. Many companies have translators work with them after sending release to handle communication. The secret is finding someone you like and working with them on ongoing communication. I would be happy to recommend some services that I know are good and meet my high standards.

    Is a local agency necessary?

    An agency isn't always necessary, and it depends on the market. If you have language capability, and don't mind working at different times, you can manage it here. You need a local agency if you are doing events, trade shows, or roadshows and don't have local office. If you have significant sales in a country and no local staff, and agency becomes important. Time zones are also important to agency decision. If you don't want to pitch at 2am, having someone local works best. 

    Is there really a difference between French and French Canadian?

    Oui! The language has evolved differently. There are different phrases used in each country. You can get away with European French in Canadian communication, with a bit of teasing from the journalists. But French media aren't as forgiving. You need European French for France.

    I want to send the same release in Mandarin to Hong Kong and China. Was told I can’t.  Why?

    Mandarin is the spoken language in Taiwan and China. You can't 'translate' a release into that. Simplified Chinese is written language for China and Traditional Chinese is written language for Taiwan. Both speak Mandarin. If you ask for Simplified Chinese instead of Mandarin when requesting translation, you'll get a more positive answer.

    Does having imbedded links or #video change international release landscape? Are there countries that restrict them?

    Yes, links must go to translated pages for best effect if possible and video needs to be visible in all markets and appropriate. China doesn't get YouTube. Depending on the country and subject, video may need to be adapted to the local market. Look for cultural restrictions in Asia and Middle East. Some videos won't work if banned imagery is used.

    I was told by a pub in Dubai they couldn’t run my photo. Why?

    There are cultural restrictions in Dubai that can prevent photo usage. Subjects, modesty of dress and caption key words matter. Use of celebrities also can cause problems in image or video in the Middle East. Check with your local office or agency.

    What makes a photo have appeal in Asia?  

    Best photos feature local people in Asia. Audience must relate. Grip and Grins rarely get picked up. Kids and Pets do. Make sure the caption is translated for maximum effect in Asia. Remember China cannot access US based sharing sites, so photos and video needs to be stored in .cn sharing sites.

    How about Europe?

    Product photos do well in Europe, but it must have local packaging to be effective. Video is very popular in Europe. Can usually use the US video with good engagement.

    If I send a release only to the US, will it get picked up all over the world?

    Releases sent over @prnewswire have some overseas reach due to our journalist database, and large .com online reach. But for Search, it must be sent in local domain and in local language. Just to US won't give you global exposure. 

    If I pitch the LA correspondent for the FT, will the story get into the FT worldwide?

    It will get into the online version of the FT, but not necessarily the print version. Pitching local journalists works very well.

    Is sending a release at 7am in Japan a good idea?

    No. Too early. Not all markets like early releases like the US. In Japan, between 9 and 10 am is best. You can get away with earlier in Australia, but most Asian markets need to be after 9am local time for best results. NEVER send a release during an overnight in a target country. Sending globally at 7am ET ensures no one in Asia will see it. Always send releases before deadline in target country. It's OK to stagger a release to morning globally.

    What is the best way to do a press kit for an overseas show?

    Press kits need to be in language, and in digital format. Paper is thrown away in newsroom. Have press kit in several languages on flash drives and hand those out with giveaways at trade shows. Have some print kits at trade shows for those who want it, but most want digital copies. Easier to pack home.

    What is the best way to reach the most people in Africa?

    Online posting on local domain websites is best for Africa reach. Mobile is huge there, and Search is important. Posting in English works for much of Southern Africa, but French and Arabic is needed for West and Northern Africa. Be sure to communicate in appropriate language to target market.

    If I send a release in India and I don’t have a local staff, will they call me in the middle of the night?

    It's possible, but most Indian journalists know they'll just get voicemail, so they will email unless it's breaking news. If your mobile phone is on the contact information, you may get a late call, but since it's for a story, that's a good thing. If a journalist needs to call me in the middle of the night, that's OK, and why I went into PR in the first place.

    For journalists on the chat: A reporter may speak English, but writes in German and they only want German releases. How can journalists get PR staff to understand this?

    Easy. Stop accepting English copy, and tell the company pitching it to send in German. If you're being nice and allowing English, then you'll get a lot of it. Many journalists are no longer taking EN copy. PR pros get the message if you send it back. @prnewswire recommends sending in local language, and your support helps.

    To post a story, journalists need to have an image. Please let everyone know how to give journalists good photos.

    Have photo in jpeg or tiff format, high enough density for publication and post photo on as many local domain sites as possible for easy download by local journalists with release.

    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: Remembering Bob Simon

    Friday, February 13, 2015, 11:40 AM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    The past week has been a very difficult one for journalists and staff at CBS News. 60 Minutes correspondent Bob Simon was killed in an automobile accident in New York City on the evening of Feb. 11 as he rode in a livery cab on the West Side Highway.

    He was loved by many, not just his colleagues and his family, but by the millions of people he reached with his reports from around the globe. He reported from dangerous locations – Vietnam, the Middle East, etc. -- was imprisoned in Iraq in 1991 for 40 days, survived reporting from war-torn places, but yet a car crash in the city he called home is where his life ended in a way that doesn’t make sense. A man who made it out alive and well from so many precarious and unstable countries, who faced danger over and over again, only to be taken away from us in this manner. How does that make sense? It never will.

    His reports were among the best a journalist could produce. He was one of the best writers, a journalist who also had a sense of humor. He was someone you wanted to know, someone you wanted to grab a coffee with and hear him talk for hours about his journalistic experiences. There are many journalists out there but there a handful who make a difference in the profession, the actual craft. He was unquestionably in that group.

    He took the time to chat with people, including journalists just starting their careers. To see the humility and humor in his banter and to hear the words of wisdom acquired through decades of experience was something special. 

    Columbia University posted a brief article, "What It Takes: Bob Simon's Advice to a Young Journalist," which includes a video from 2011 where he speaks to a young journalist and provides him with some suggestions both with humor and a genuine desire to help. That video is below:

    Thank you, Mr. Simon. I’m sure you and Walter Cronkite will be spending a lot of time together now. You will be greatly missed.

    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: How to Get the Attention of Global Media

    Thursday, February 12, 2015, 11:38 AM [#ConnectChat]
    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    Our next #ConnectChat, “How to Get the Attention of Global Media" will feature Colleen Pizarev (@cpizarev), vice president of communication strategies at PR Newswire.

    Colleen will answer all your questions about making sure your message reaches journalists all over the globe and will discuss specific strategies for each geographic location.

    The chat will take place Tuesday, Feb. 17 from 3 to 4:30 p.m, EDT.

    To submit questions for Colleen 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 Colleen Pizarev


    Colleen Pizarev, PR Newswire’s Vice President of Communication Strategies has more than 20 years of experience in consulting in the area of international communications, including creating the perfect press release for specific countries, leveraging global social media, managing communications efforts between multiple agencies and local offices, and establishing or enhancing brand identity in international markets.  Pizarev is located in PR Newswire’s San Francisco office.

    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

    Candy and ASJA -- The Perfect Pair!

    Wednesday, February 11, 2015, 3:58 PM [General]
    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    The most magical time of the year is upon us!

    OK, no, it’s not the holiday season, but it IS really cool AND you get a gift too! It’s time to guess how much candy is in the candy jar!

    So why are we asking you to guess how much candy is in the candy jar? Just like last year, we have an extra pass to this year’s ASJA conference in New York and we’re looking to give it away to one lucky journalist!

    The journalist who picks the correct number of chocolate peanut butter candies in our ASJA jar (or gets closest to the correct number) gets the free pass. Even better? If you stop by the ProfNet table at the conference, we’ll give you the jar with the candy (in the meantime, we’ll do our best to not eat too much of it…)

    You can give us your guess in one of three ways:

    • Twitter: Tweet your guess, and make sure to tag @ProfNet

    You have until 5 p.m. EST on Thursday, Feb. 20, to share your guess.

    Don’t wait any longer! Make your guess and we may see you at ASJA! 

    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: Journalists and Data Collection

    Thursday, February 5, 2015, 1:32 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Big brother is almost certainly watching, according to investigative journalists. Many believe that their line of work has made them vulnerable to data collection by the United States government and those who report on foreign affairs, national security or the federal government already feel data has been collected regarding their communications, including emails and phone calls.

    All of this is according to a new survey of members of the media association Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) by the Pew Research Center in association with Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism.

    If you’re an investigative journalist, do you think data has been collected on your activity? Has it ever stopped you from pursuing a story? 

    Here’s the report:

    About two-thirds of investigative journalists surveyed (64%) believe that the U.S. government has probably collected data about their phone calls, emails or online communications, and eight-in-ten believe that being a journalist increases the likelihood that their data will be collected. Those who report on national security, foreign affairs or the federal government are particularly likely to believe the government has already collected data about their electronic communications (71% say this is the case), according to a new survey of members of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) – a nonprofit member organization for journalists – by the Pew Research Center in association with Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism.

    Thus far, concerns about surveillance and hacking have mostly fallen short of keeping many journalists from pursuing a story or a source; Just 14% say that in the past 12 months, such concerns have kept them from pursuing a story or reaching out to a particular source, or have led them to consider leaving investigative journalism altogether.

    Still, these concerns have led many of these journalists to alter their behavior in the past 12 months. Nearly half (49%) say they have at least somewhat changed the way they store or share sensitive documents, and 29% say the same of the way they communicate with other reporters, editors or producers.

    And among the 454 respondents who identify as reporters, 38% say that in the past year they have at least somewhat changed the way they communicate with sources.

    To continue reading, please click here.

    (Photo by qwghlm/ChrisApplegate/Flickr; used under CC by 2.0)

    Media 411: Can game design and journalism work together?

    Thursday, January 22, 2015, 4:23 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Did you ever think that computer games and journalism could somehow work together?

    There are already two distinguished media outlets figuring out a way to do this -- The New York Times and Pro Publica. The American University School of Communication is also taking notice of this possibility by creating a program for creating leaders in media via game design theory.

    The Columbia Journalism Review has written a very informative piece on this unique development title "What Game Design Can Do for Journalism," and it's one that allows us to see into the crystal ball that may tell us how journalism could change in the future.

    *****************************************************************************

    As journalism is increasingly experimenting with innovative platforms and tools, some news media have started noticing the potential of computer games to tackle real-life issues in an engaging way. The New York Times and ProPublica are already designing digital games that integrate journalistic reporting.

    To explore this potential, the American University School of Communication has selected three fellows for a new program aimed at developing leadership in media and journalism through game design theory. The JoLT program, funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, builds on the university’s new Master’s of Game Design, which trains students to develop digital games that deal with larger societal issues. The three JoLT fellows, Joyce Rice, Kelli Dunlap, and Cherisse Datu, will be taking MA classes in addition to other projects aimed at studying games as an integral part of modern media, including digital, journalistic storytelling.

    CJR got Rice, Dunlap, and Datu together during their second, busy week as JoLT fellows to talk about what game design has to do with journalism and how the two can enrich one another.

    Tell us a bit about your backgrounds and what motivated you to apply to the fellowship?

    Joyce Rice: I’ve been working for the past two years on Symbolia, which is an interactive comics journalism magazine. I think game design principles have a lot to bring to new media, and I’m interested in ways that we can use those in more accessible, universal ways.  

    Kelli Dunlap: Before this program, I graduated with a PsyD in clinical psychology, and my research interests have pretty much always been in digital content and bringing those kinds of tools either into the therapy room or using them to talk about mental health issues. I primarily joined this program so that I can start to carve out that niche.

    Cherisse Datu: I hail from Al Jazeera English and America’s social media program “The Stream,” where I’ve been lead editor for about two to three years.

    I want to break the usual narrative of video games. And I’ve noticed, as someone who’s worked in journalism, and as a gamer, many gamers don’t really tend to follow the news. So I figured: Why not bring the news story into the video games?

    What can computer games bring to the news media?

    Rice: I’m interested in seeing the new ways that game design can bring a new perspective to news media that are having a lot of problems right now with decreasing engagement. A lot of legacy publications are dangerously tied to an aging subscriber pool. Something is going to have to change about the way we are sharing and telling stories.

    Dunlap: Games are masters of engagement, or there wouldn’t be 600 million people worldwide playing video games. Games hook you. So, is there a way to take that hook and channel that to other industries?

    To continue reading and see the complete article, please click here.

    SPOTLIGHT: George Putic, Voice of America

    Friday, January 16, 2015, 11:23 AM [Spotlight]
    0 (0 Ratings)

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

    This SPOTLIGHT belongs to George Putic, a science and technology reporter for Voice of America. 

    We hope you find SPOTLIGHT both enjoyable and informative.

    (If you're a journalist who uses ProfNet's query service and would like to be featured in our 'Spotlight' series, please contact Evelyn Tipacti, evelyn.tipacti@prnewswire.com)


    George, you have a degree in dramaturgy – was journalism your first dream or did you originally want a career in the theater?

    Theater was attractive as a career but I soon found out that I’m much better in explaining things than developing plots and characters so I refocused my interest to television. It was more accessible it was faster and offered instant gratification.

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

    By chance in 1978 I got hired by the BBC’s External Service as a Program Assistant for, at that time Yugoslav Section. I started as translator and anchor but soon started producing a weekly Technical Magazine about trends in technology. It became very popular with listeners in our target area and I got hooked.

    What news do you currently cover?

    After many years covering topical stuff I am again doing Science and Technology and enjoying it very much.

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

    Sometimes they are assigned but mostly I monitor what’s going on in Science and Technology and pitch ideas to my editors.

    What stories do you like covering the most?

    Space explorations, robotics and cars are my favorite subjects. But it does not mean that I would reject other subjects such as medical technology or geosciences.

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

    I do video editing myself and I very much enjoy slowly building the story out of the pile of individual shots.

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

    Give me stuff that moves the science and technology forward and looks visually interesting.

    What should someone pitching you never do?

    Never pitch as if you’re trying to sell a product.

    Always do?

    Keep in mind that VOA’s audience is very international and that something interesting for the US audience may be less interesting for viewers in Africa or South-East Asia.

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

    E-mail is the best.

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

    If you can, invest in a good web camera and find a place with a nice backdrop where you can sit at your laptop. As many of the interviews are done via Skype you’d want to look good on screen.

    What type of experts do you prefer to work with?

    Not too verbose. TV is a fast-paced medium so two-minute answers to questions create a lot of headache for reporters. 

    Can you tell us about your most memorable story you’ve covered?

    Humanoid robot developed at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Lab, in Maryland. The artificial hands they built are now used by a double amputee who controls them with his mind. It is absolutely awesome.

    How do you use social media in your job?

    Not much, I must say. I simply do not have time for that.

    What has changed from when you began your career?

    The most important thing is the change in the professional TV technology. Smaller and cheaper equipment and much better resolution make TV journalist’s life much easier.

    If someone starting their journalism career is reading this, what advice would you offer them?

    Learn how to write short and interesting stories and try not to repeat yourself.

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

    I like to cook and tinker in my workshop.

     About George Putic

    George Putic was born in Belgrade, Serbia and received his BS in dramaturgy, at Belgrade University’s School of Dramatic Arts.

    His first stint in journalism was in 1978 as a program assistant with BBC World Service’s Yugoslav section in London where he was the anchor of  “Technical Magazine.”

    In 1982 he was the chief of the video production studio for Belgrade’s Studio B radio station, writing and producing TV commercials and infomercials.

    In March 1989 George joined VOA’s Yugoslav Service where he authored and produced over 1,000 two-minute tech news segments for radio. Later he produced numerous science and technology reports for Serbian Service’s TV show.

    Since December 2013 he has been the science and technology reporter for Voice of America's central newsroom.

    Media 411: Predictions for 2015

    Thursday, January 15, 2015, 12:52 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    At the end of every year, people make predictions for the upcoming year about their profession and industry and it’s no different for those who work in the media.

    We all have an opinion as to what we would like to see, but do any of those wishes come true?

    Several outlets have published their predictions and perhaps at the end of 2015 we can look back and review these and see which ones were right on. Let’s see what the experts have to say.

    Here’s a list of links with their own predictions:

    What are your predictions for the news industry for 2015?

    (Photo by seanmcgrath/Flickr; used under CC by 2.0)

    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: Keeping Safe on a High-Risk Job

    Thursday, January 8, 2015, 1:07 PM [Media 411]
    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    The events that took place yesterday in Paris have left people in the media community and all over the world stunned, angry and sad. My usual Media 411 column would have focused on new technology, advice on how to do something better or simply commenting on some new media trend. This week, the first column of 2015, I’ll skip that and instead offer some advice via Poynter on staying safe if you’re a journalist working in an area of conflict. 

    It seems the entire world has become a conflict zone and all journalists need to protect themselves when they make the decision to go to an area experiencing any type of strife. Areas we once thought to be safe are obviously not anymore.

    Here are five things you can do to help keep you safe:

    • Don’t go: Obvious, right? What better way to stay safe from the dangers of high-risk reporting than avoiding it in the first place? It’s an extremely effective method for the maintenance of mind, body and soul. Am I joking? Maybe a little. But there’s a serious side to this and that’s to ensure you properly consider whether this type of work is actually what you want to do. Conflict coverage can look enticing through the prism of a well-crafted report. In reality, it’s often dirty, distressing and dispiriting work. Ask yourself why you’re interested. Then consider the potential impact on those closest to you. If you do all that and still feel up for it then great, read on.
    • Train early, train right and keep on training: If you’ve never had hostile environment training, then you’re not as prepared as you should be to work in a hostile environment. Fact: Even if you were born and raised in a war zone, or consider yourself the hardest scribbler in town, this training is a must-do. It’s a poor soul who believes they already know everything about anything. It’s a dangerous colleague who thinks they already know it all about high-risk working. Get on a course as a priority. Embrace and enjoy the chance to learn amongst peers. If you already have some experience, then welcome the opportunity to pass that on and enhance the learning of others. Last, but most importantly, get medical skills. A significant part of such courses is training in basic trauma medicine. It’s life-saving stuff, and if you want to work in dangerous places you owe it to your colleagues to know this. So Hostile Environment First Aid Training (HEFAT) is a must. Do one, practice the skills, build knowledge and experience, refresh it all every three years maximum, and ensure you’re properly prepared. Speaking of being properly prepared.
    • Prepare with the right equipment: Doing high-risk work requires specialist safety kit. I’m talking body armor, head and eye protection, gas masks, medical equipment and survival gear. Know what you need and don’t leave home without it. What you take specifically will depend on the type of coverage and potential threats. But make sure you’ve done that assessment properly and have what’s required to cover all eventualities. Then ensure you’ve kit enough for any drivers or fixers you use, too. People often forget that last point. Generally because they haven’t bothered with tip number four.

    (To read the complete and original article by Toby Woodbridge, please click here.)

    (Photo by Horia Varlan/Flickr; used under CC by 2.0)

    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.

    Best of Spotlight: PR Tips from Media Pros, Part Two

    Friday, December 19, 2014, 4:46 PM [Spotlight]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Our monthly Spotlight series focuses on journalists and opens the door into their lives as members of the media in their respective newsrooms.

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

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

    The journalists featured are:

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

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

    Happy Holidays!

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

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

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

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

    What should a PR person always do and never do? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    What type of experts do you prefer to work with? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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