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    • Title:Community Editor
    • Organization:ProfNet Connect (PR Newswire)
    • Area of Expertise:Media Relations, Hispanic Media
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    Media 411: Reporting in Bad Weather

    Friday, January 15, 2016, 2:47 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    If you're a TV news reporter or anchor, chances are you've had to report in severe weather and whether it's been rain or snow, tornadoes or hurricanes, we all know it's never fun being out there in the elements.

    Cristin Severance, a Dallas reporter for KTVT (CBS) provides some tips on how to prepare:

    The BBC also has some great tips and although almost three years-old, they still hold true today.

    What's your advice for journalists who have to cover severe weather?

    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

    Media 411: Becoming a More Productive Writer

    Friday, January 8, 2016, 2:55 PM [Media 411]
    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    The first week of 2016 has passed -- are you still refreshed and encouraged to do better? Are those resolutions still ringing in your head? 

    Perhaps you are inspired to become a better writer? That's definitely manageable! Let's start off the year with some tips on becoming more productive. Here are some great articles to inspire you:

    What are your tips? Feel free to share and let me know!

    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

    Journalist Spotlight: Dale Buss, Author and Commentator

    Friday, December 18, 2015, 4:17 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.

    Dale Buss is an experienced author and journalist with deep credentials in the world of business publishing. He is a major Forbes.com contributor on the auto industry, a contributing editor to Chief Executive Magazine, and a regular contributor on business topics to the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes and many other outlets.

    Buss also has been a regular commentator on the opinion pages of the Journal on issues of business, public policy, media, religion and culture. He is author of the book Family Man: The Biography of Dr. James Dobson.

    He also acted as an editorial consultant and cooperating author to business executives including Joel Manby, CEO of SeaWorld, for his 2013 book Love Works; Jeff Weedman, since-retired vice president of external innovation for Procter & Gamble; Jeremy Anwyl, CEO of Edmunds.com; and Dennis Zeleny, one of America’s leading HR executives.

    We hope you find Dale's SPOTLIGHT enjoyable and informative. 

    Did you always know you wanted to be a journalist?

    Pretty much from a young age I started writing science-fiction stories, a “novel,” and even poems. Then when I was 12 years old I took over a gig from a friend who was writing up weekly reports on Little League baseball action for the local newspaper, the Reedsburg (Wis.) Times-Press. I was hooked; became the sports editor of the paper at age 15; and by age 16, thanks to a wonderful editor and mentor named Paul Dysart, I was winning statewide “best sports section” awards against experienced editors twice and three and four times my age. So I was hooked early.

    Where was your first job in journalism?

    At that little weekly newspaper, for real. During college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison I enjoyed internships with the Wisconsin State Journal and Green Bay Press-Gazette, which landed me an internship in the summer of 1980 with the Wall Street Journal in Pittsburgh. A semester later after I graduated, I got my first full-time job as a reporter for the Journal in Dallas. 

    Can you tell is about the type of stories do you like to write and report about most?

    I enjoy noticing developments and trends in business and society ahead of the curve, putting 2 and 2 together to make 5, if you will. 

    What’s your advice for those in PR or anyone else who may want to pitch you?

    Use e-mail. Be concise, clear and succinct. Try to understand what might intrigue me about a subject, company or person – what I and my outlets such as Forbes, Brandchannel and Chief Executive might get out of it – instead of making the mistake of positioning the pitch only for the benefit of your client.

    What should they always do and never do?

    • NEVER respond to a Profnet query by offering a client, especially on a time-sensitive pitch, and then follow up by saying that it turns out the client isn’t available. Be sure before you offer.
    • Never insist on my submitting questions via e-mail before an interview; it just takes more time and makes the interview less worthwhile for me.
    • Never pretend that an e-mail “interview” is anywhere near as valuable as a phoner or in-person session.
    • Never use the excuse that someone is “traveling”; there are cell phones.
    • Never ask me what I’m “working on”; if I remembered it all, I probably wouldn’t share it with you anyway.
    • Never get insulted if you get no follow-up from me; it means I’ve had 100 responses via Profnet and can’t possibly respond to all of them.
    • Always tell your clients to stop faux complimenting journalists by saying, “That’s a good question.” It must be Day One of media training everywhere.
    • Always understand that my interest or lack thereof in your pitches or clients often is circumstantially based, depending on what I’m working on at the moment, and that the exact same pitch made to me a month later might elicit a different response.
    • Always understand that I may want to slice and dice material gained in an interview in multiple ways for multiple clients.

    How can someone in PR/marketing approach you in order to develop some sort of work relationship? What advice do you have for members who respond to ProfNet queries?

    Via e-mail, demonstrating a clear understanding from your own research of what I do, and starting out with one clear idea or pitch that would create a win-win-win-win situation for you, your client, me and my client. 

    What type of experts do you prefer?

    Those who have SPECIFIC and CERTIFIABLE expertise specifically in the topics I’m requesting, not just general expertise about an area. In other words, if I’m writing a story about a specific brand or industry and I’ve asked for experts on that topic, I’m not going to be interested in talking with someone who just happens to be a marketing professor.

    What has changed the most from when you began your career as a journalist/author?

    Digital demands. They’ve turned the job into a 24x7 pursuit for everyone. Some days I feel like I’m back to the Eighties when I was a reporter for the Journal. And, of course, the sad demise of newspapers. Also the obvious political bias at practically every media outlet. The rise of branded content lately is another huge development whose ultimate effect has yet to be understood.

    How do use social media and what is the best thing about it?

    I wanly tweet and post my stuff on Facebook but I’m too busy to spend my days doing that. The best thing about it is it creates new ways to communicate and provides real new means of transparency into people, organizations and areas where it didn’t exist before. The worst thing about social media, though, is that everyone has to keep track of it.

    What advice do you have for new journalists and even for those who aren’t so new to the field? 

    Your skills and enthusiasm will be enough to get you through a period that is difficult because of technological disruption. People will always need editorial gatekeepers, and the more “information” there is to digest, the more we’ll be needed. It’ll just be online instead of on paper. 

    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

    Media 411: 2016 Journalism & Media Predictions Roundup

    Thursday, December 17, 2015, 3:04 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    It’s that time of year! Everyone is making predictions about the presidential election, the economy, climate change -- well, everything it seems, and media is no different. What changes will take place within the world of journalism and social media?

    Below I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite articles discussing their 2016 predictions. A year from now we'll see if they come true!

    What do you think will happen next year?

    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

    Pitching to National and Local Morning Talk Shows

    Wednesday, December 9, 2015, 3:18 PM [General]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    The Publicity Club of New York held their final panel luncheon of 2015 featuring some of the top producers in national and local morning talk television.

    Peter Himler, president of the Publicity Club of New York hosts each event and brings top talent from the media world to every discussion. 

    This panel consisted of:

     

    Siobhan Schanda – The Wendy Williams Show 

    • The show is in its seventh season and airs in 52 countries. 
    • Very celebrity-driven, pop culture-oriented.
    • Looking for guests that can engage Wendy in conversation. 
    • Magazine editors are good guests for the show.
    • They do a lot of lifestyle segments.
    • Important for them to book people to whom she’ll have a connection.
    • Would like to see expert/guest ahead of time.
    • Book a couple of weeks ahead but currently booked through February 2016.
    • Email is best: sschanda@wendyshow.com
    • Don’t hesitate to call.

    Jessica Cohen – Good Day New York

    • 5 ½ hour show airs Monday through Friday and starts at 4:30 a.m on FOX 5.
    • Booking is mainly focused between 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. with Rosanna Scotto and Greg Kelly.
    • The 7 a.m. hour is news-heavy with newsmaker guests and those with stories in headlines.
    • The 8 a.m. focuses on news and goes into lifestyle and health.
    • The 9 a.m. hour is more like a talk show. They like celebrities for this period.
    • They do things in fun ways and won’t do interviews in the typical Q& A, Q&A, Q&A format.
    • Looking for guests who will have fun and play games.
    • It’s important for them to do something in a creative and fun way for the 9 a.m. Guests won’t be sitting with a video clip.
    • It’s helpful to see your expert reel, to know if you have any media training. May do pre-interview on phone.
    • Be up front if you have a guest that has a product to pitch. Don’t try to sneak in a mention.
    • FCC guidelines and rules must be adhered to so tell them if you are pitching something. Be honest.
    • Like to show classic NYC experiences like skating. If it’s wild and crazy and Greg and Rosanna are willing to do it, they want to know your suggestions.
    • Email: jessica.cohen@foxtv.com
    • Call: (212) 452-3618

    Scott Eason – Live with Kelly & Michael

    • Not focused on heavy-hitting stuff 
    • Want things to make you laugh and start your day right.
    • They don’t take pitches for host chat -- when Kelly and Michael chat at start of show.
    • Looking for buzzworthy things that can create conversation between Kelly and Michael.
    • Want new blood for their segments such as gift guide, perhaps magazine staffers. People who are unique also get their attention.
    • Talking heads need to fit with the flow of the show so they need to be light and entertaining.
    • Nutrition and fitness folks are great for the show.
    • 99% of show is celebrity-driven and they always know the plug.
    • They’re looking for new places to send Travel Trivia winners – segment where Kelly and Michael speak to a contestant via the telephone, spin a wheel that picks a destination, ask a question and if correct send contestant to that destination.
    • It’s a good idea to call the show to pitch. Be specific. “I have a pitch for XYZ. Who would handle that?”
    • Guests may get tested on the phone to see if they would be a good fit. Prior appearances on other shows help.
    • Call: (917) 260-7400

    Marcia Parris – PIX Morning News

    • First few hours are straight news, how commute is affected and getting people out the door.
    • The 7 a.m. hour relates to topics you’re talking about. Watercooler items.
    • The 8 a.m. hour has more features – entertainment, lifestyle, health, fitness.
    • They look for trending and unique things and always looking for ideas.
    • Sports guests are featured often.
    • It helps if you have a reel showing your previous on-air experience. If that person is “the” person they want that person, will push them through interview with graphics BUT experience is definitely helpful.
    • They’re big on using Facebook.
    • Like attending community events for live remotes. Must be events that are attainable to viewers like a circus, skating, etc.
    • Email: mparris@pix11.com, mparris@tribunemedia.com or rhalperin@pix11.com

    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

    Meet the Media: Medical/Health Reporters

    Monday, December 7, 2015, 5:03 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    The Healthcare Public Relations and Marketing Society of Greater New York held a panel discussion at Lenox Hill Hospital with medical/health care reporters and producers to teach marketers and public relations professionals about the beats they cover, how they choose certain stories, the best ways to work with them, get in touch and much more.

    Agata Blaszczak-Boxe, Freelance Science Reporter, Live Science/New Scientist


    • Her stories get syndicated by other outlets.
    • She focuses on new research, health, and medical.
    • Looking for experts to comment. Usually needs doctors that same day so she needs people who will respond quickly and are reliable.
    • She’ll respond right away if you have a good pitch.
    • She doesn’t travel.
    • Email is best, no phone calls.
    • Contact: agata.boxe@gmail.com
    • Twitter: @agataboxe

    Fred Mogul, Healthcare and Medicine Reporter, WNYC

    • “Only Human” podcast – digs into cost on physical and emotional level, social and economic trends.
    • Interested in individual stories, wants to deal with the frontline or the doctors, caregiving, government policy.
    • Not looking for the basic sunscreen or hay fever stories.
    • Feel free to give him ideas but prefers to work with those who give access to doctors, patients, medical students.
    • Likes to work researchers and scientists.
    • Recommends you always have an e-signature in your email.
    • Visual elements are good to include in pitches even though they may not get used.
    • He can travel locally or regionally.
    • Succinct subject lines are best.
    • Give him a day or so to respond.
    • With regards to social media, looking to be tagged by a doctor instead of an institution.
    • Contact: fmogul@wnyc.org
    • Twitter: @fredmogul

    Dr. Ivan Oransky, VP and Global Editorial Director, Medpage Today


    • News feature investigative site for doctors.
    • Reaches 700,000 practicing physicians in United States.
    • They share resources with Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Vice.com, North Carolina Health News, etc.
    • Cover studies, clinical trials, conferences – attend approximately 80 conferences a year so staff will travel for a story.
    • Likes to profile doctors who are struggling in some way.
    • Getting their attention requires data – audience is made up of doctors
    • Prefers to have a relationship with the person pitching.
    • Will disclose where data is coming from, will provide credit.
    • Information from an infographic you send may be used but they may produce their own with that info and provide credit.
    • They shoot video.
    • Contact: mpt_editorial@everydayhealthinc.com
    • Twitter: @ivanoransky

    Heather Won Tesoriero, Medical Producer, CBS Evening News

    • Eight million viewers per night.      
    • Newscast does most medical pieces out of the other evening newscasts.
    • Major studies would be considered their bread and butter.
    • Enterprise features.
    • Please no blind pitches of an expert with whom she’s never worked.
    • Studies are vetted.
    • Pitch a story – not a product.
    • In your pitch, give specifics, provide names of doctors and patients, what I will have access to.
    • Usually stay away from early stage clinical work.
    • Include your email or phone number in signature and even voicemail. Makes it easier to reach you when a story has to be done with quick turnaround.
    • Uses content produced by third party but will always be transparent and provide credit to tell viewers where it’s from.
    • Will check YouTube or hospital site to see how someone appears on video.
    • Contact: tesorieroh@cbsnews.com

    Sumathi Reddy, Health Columnist, The Wall Street Journal

    • Writes “Your Health” column in the Personal Journal section which runs on Tuesdays.
    • Not behind the paywall, always accessible.
    • Has a layman audience.
    • Looking for stories to which people can relate.
    • Writes about studies but not healthcare, financial, drugs and pharmaceuticals.
    • Never pitch a story that appears in The New York Times or that will appear there.
    • Don’t pitch the same story to other reporters.
    • Not interested in “awareness” month stories.
    • Looking for exclusivity, seasonal ideas, and contacts.
    • Wants to get out of the office so give her a story where she can follow a doctor or patient.
    • Needs a week to get back to you.
    • Shoots own video and will not use anything produced by agencies, etc.
    • Is able to travel for a story.
    • She tweets her stories but doesn’t use Twitter too often.
    • Contact: sumathi.reddy@wsj.com

    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

    Understanding Middlemen in Media

    Wednesday, December 2, 2015, 11:15 AM [#ConnectChat]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    On Tuesday, Dec. 1, we hosted our latest #ConnectChat, "Understanding Middlemen in Media," with our guest Marina Krakovsky

    Krakovsky discussed the definition of a middleman, the differences between middlemen in journalism and PR, how understanding the middleman economy can make you a more valuable journalist or PR person and much more.

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


    What is a middleman? 

    Although everybody knows that a middleman is a person between two others, I want to suggest a more useful definition. A *good* middleman is a person in a network who connects other nodes in the network to increase the value of the network. So it's all about adding value through the in-between position. Middlemen who fail to do that are the ones we resent or scorn.

    How are journalists middlemen?

    We're merchants of information--we offer our audiences access to information from our sources. For example, journalists are often scouting out information, story ideas, sources, etc. -- that's what Certifiers do. And when we put our name on the byline, we are staking our reputation on the quality of what we put out to our readers. 

    How are those who work in PR middlemen?

    In a way, publicists are merchants of information, too—but their primary loyalty is to their clients, not to journalists. And that means journalists can't be mere conduits for what the publicists offer them—we must filter, and verify, and package. 

    Journalists' gatekeeping means that the most effective publicists give journalists good information in the first place. The best publicists think like journalists, and can put themselves in the journalists' shoes so as to give them what they need. 

    In general, effective middlemen usually find a way to provide value to both sides—to both the buyer and the seller.

    Do people typically think of themselves as a middleman? 

    Most people don't—the word “middleman” has such strong negative connotations in English that most of us think of middlemen as other people.

    So journalists sometimes see publicists as gatekeeping middlemen between the journalist and a hard-to-reach interview source. While publicists often see journalists as gatekeeping middlemen between themselves and the broader public. 

    So we're probably more likely to see others as middlemen than to recognize that we are middlemen, too.

    For a journalist, how is understanding other people's roles as middlemen in other industries vital?  

    Much of our complex modern economy works because of middlemen. A supply chain is a series of middlemen. So any industry you cover will have middlemen playing key roles—brokers, agents, dealers, retailers, venture capitalists, etc. 

    At the heart of the so-called “peer-to-peer economy” is also a bunch of middlemen (Airbnb, Uber, TaskRabbit, and the like). Seeing these people as middlemen simplifies matters greatly, helping you quickly get to the heart of what all these people do or what they SHOULD be doing, and for whom.

    What about for those who work in PR? 

    It's the same idea: your client is either a middleman or must partner with middlemen. 

    What happens when you finally figure out that you are a middleman?

    That's when you can decide what problems you're able to solve for your partners—because that's what effective middlemen do. For example, some middlemen solve the problem of accountability -- these Enforcers are able to keep both sides honest. The classic way a journalist might play the Enforcer role is to do investigative/watchdog reporting.

    Scouting out and vetting sources is part of what I call the Certifier role, solving the problem of quality uncertainty. Many journalists solve the problem of information overload. There's this myth that because the Internet is full of information.

    Everyone can do it all themselves—but information takes time to process. The “Concierge” can do it for you more quickly. Science writers play this Concierge role through explanatory journalism.

    For PR pros, an important role is solving the problem of self-advocacy: it's hard for most people to toot their own horn. A publicist can play that “Insulator” role. But to do it credibly, the publicist needs to cultivate a reputation for honesty.

    Why is having this big-picture perspective a good thing? 

     It just helps you get to the crux of the issue more quickly, so you don't get mired in the non-essential details. It's not that details aren't important—but you want to be able to see the forest for the trees.

    Can understanding the middleman economy make you a more successful reporter or PR person?

    I certainly think it can make you a more valuable one. Alas, whether the market recognizes your value is another matter.

    How can anybody recognize who is a middleman and who isn’t?  

    I think it's pretty obvious—whenever someone is connecting people in some way, they're a middleman. The question is whether they're a good one—are they solving problems (facilitating commerce) or are they just standing there?

    What are three things you can do to immediately be a better middleman in media? 

    1) Figure out whom you want to serve. 2) Decide what to specialize in--be selective. 3) Read my book! Seriously.

    Reporters and publicists will find inspiration from seeing how middlemen in other industries deal with the same core issues.

    Can you please tell us about your book?

    It's called THE MIDDLEMAN ECONOMY:  How Brokers, Agents, Dealers, and Everyday Matchmakers Create Value and Profit.

    I interviewed a bunch of social scientists and also middlemen from many industries to get at what middlemen do to create value.

    You can learn more about the book at TheMiddlemanEconomy.com  or through the book's Amazon page.

    Did social media and the internet kill the middleman?

    Definitely not! The opposite has happened, and economic data bears this out.

    It's true that social media helps people bypass traditional gatekeepers—but, to reach large audiences in a credible way, there's nothing like a reputable gatekeeper, and look at the new middlemen in social media (social media marketers)--this job didn't exist 20 years ago. Every new network creates demand for a new middleman.

    What did the rise of the internet do to media careers? 

    The answer is complicated because the Internet has had multiple effects, some conflicting. It enabled a service like Craigslist, which killed classified advertising and expedited the demise newspapers. On the other hand, the Internet enabled many other people to become publishers, with thriving media careers as bloggers, podcasters, etc.

    Is there a difference between a reporter as a middleman and an editor as a middleman? 

    At the most obvious level, editors take a bigger-picture view, creating the kind of balanced portfolio that no one reporter can. That also means that editors can be Risk Bearers -- enabling reporters to take bigger risks than they could on their own.

    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

    Upcoming #ConnectChat: Understanding Middlemen in Media

    Saturday, November 28, 2015, 3:51 PM [#ConnectChat]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Our next #ConnectChat, "Understanding Middlemen in Media,” will feature Marina Krakovsky (@MarinaKrakovsky), a writer and speaker who focuses on ideas in the social sciences, particularly new research in psychology, sociology, and economics.

    Krakovsky believes that if you’re writing about real estate agents, retailers, meeting planners, brokers, venture capitalists, or other industry leaders, it is critically important to recognize the often misunderstood role that all these professionals share despite their obvious differences.  

    Her expertise as the author of The Middleman Economy provides easy-to-understand insights not only about the people you write about but also about the middleman world that is prominently populated by anyone who is a  publicist or journalist. During the chat, she will reveal ways anyone who serves from the middle-of-it-all can become a more valuable player in his or her chosen industry.

    The chat will take place Tuesday, Dec. 1 from 3 to 4 p.m. EST.

    To submit questions for Marina in advance, please email profnetconnect@prnewswire.com or tweet your question to @ProfNet o@ProfNetMedia. We'll try to get to as many questions as we can.

    Of course, you can also ask your question live during the chat. To help you keep track of the conversation, we’ll use the #connectchat hashtag. Please use that hashtag if you are tweeting a question or participating in the chat.

    If you can't make it to the chat, don't worry -- a transcript will be provided on ProfNet Connect the next day.

    About Marina Krakovsky

    A Silicon Valley social science/business expert, Marina Krakovsky is the author of THE MIDDLEMAN ECONOMY: HOW BROKERS, AGENTS, DEALERS, AND EVERYDAY MATCHMAKERS CREATE VALUE AND PROFIT (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).

    As a speaker, Marina presents to corporate groups that include Google. Her written work has appeared in Discover, the New York Times Magazine, Scientific American and Scientific American Mind, O, The Oprah Magazine, Psychology Today, Slate, Stanford Magazine, the Washington Post, Wired, and other publications.

    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

    Journalist Spotlight: Sean Powers, Georgia Public Broadcasting

    Friday, November 20, 2015, 2:25 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.

    Sean Powers is a producer for "On Second Thought"and Georgia Public Broadcasting's "All Things Considered." Powers is a native of the south suburbs of Chicago, and he graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Missouri.

    In 2012, he completed a fellowship at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He moved to Atlanta after working as a reporter for the public radio station in Urbana, Ill.

    His reporting has earned him about a dozen Associated Press awards, two regional Edward R. Murrow awards, and four national PRNDI awards. Powers enjoys covering stories that focus on immigration, education and agriculture.

    We hope you find Sean's SPOTLIGHT enjoyable and informative. 

    Did you always know you wanted to be a journalist?

    From when I was 15-year-old, and got involved in my high school’s 1500 Watt student-run radio station. That’s WHFH-FM at Homewood-Flossmoor High School in Illinois. My first major assignment in my school’s broadcasting class was to produce a 55 minute radio documentary on teenage pregnancy. After several months of preparation, the program aired without a hitch. I immediately got swept up by the radio bug and the power of strong journalism that can reach out to a community. I’ve never looked back.

    Where was your first job in journalism?

    Unpaid: WHFH-FM (reporter for my high school’s radio station). Paid: Illinois Public Media (reporter for the NPR affiliate in Urbana, Illinois).

    What stories do you like to write and report about most?

    Stories I can’t relate to from my own personal experiences -- LGBT rights, immigration, HIV/AIDS, homelessness, stories that force me to step outside my comfort zone.

    Do you pitch story ideas or are they assigned most of the time?

    Both.

    What do you like most about your role at GPB?

    It’s a huge change from my other jobs. I’ve been traditionally an on-air public radio reporter, and I’d work very independently. With this job, I’m mostly a talk show producer. So, I have to primarily work behind the scenes as part of a team of producers and a host.  Those changes have been a huge challenge for me, but after a year, I’m finally getting the hang of it.

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

    Localize the pitch. If you send it to a station in Georgia, find a way of connecting it to GA. Is an author going to be in town? Does he or she have a solid connection to the state? If you’re doing a pitch on obesity, find out how Georgia ranks compared to other states. A lot of pitches feel generic and not very appealing.

    What should they always do?

    Follow up if they don’t get a response and LOCALIZE the pitch.

    Never do?

    Send me a generic pitch that has nothing to do with our audience.

    How can someone in PR develop a working relationship with you?

    Set up a time to chat by phone, and get to know me and our audience.

    What advice do you have for members who respond to ProfNet queries?

    Provide as much detail as possible about why you’d be the right guest or interviewee -- links to related articles, research, opinions, connections to the state or the topic.

    What type of experts do you prefer to work with?

    Ideally people in Georgia, but that’s not a must. Ideally, someone who is well versed on the topic.

    What’s the biggest difference today from when you started your career?

    I’m not working for free anymore.

    How do use social media at work and what do you think is the best aspect of it?

    I use FB and Twitter a lot to find story ideas and sources, but I’m not big on updating my accounts.

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

    I recently volunteered with an Atlanta teen magazine called VOX Teen Communications, which includes high school contributors from all over the Atlanta area. VOX recently did a series on HIV in Atlanta, and I had the pleasure of mentoring two students who produced an audio story. Seeing them get excited about reporting was really cool.

    You have several accolades to your name – recognition from the AP and two prestigious Edward R. Murrow awards. Do you feel more pressure to outdo each story or do you not even think about the awards?

    I used to care about awards, but I’ve done some amazing stories that haven’t been honored and other stories that were honored but probably shouldn’t have been honored, so I’m at the point where I just care  about the community I’m covering. If you get too focused on awards, you end up reporting for the wrong reasons.

    What advice do you have for new journalists and even for those who aren’t so new to the field?

    Jump into it. Don’t wait to be assigned a story in your journalism class or by an editor. Just get out in the community and start talking to people. That’s where some of the best stories are born.

    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

    Media 411: Fact-Checking Your Work

    Thursday, November 19, 2015, 3:17 PM [Media 411]
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    Journalists are responsible for what they report. Fact-checking and verifying sources are both things every journalist needs to worry about. Not ensuring the information you put out there is correct and thruthful can become a huge problem for your company and for you.

    In an article written last year by Laura Varley on Business 2 Community, we have some great information that is still relevant and very helpful:

    One of the most important parts of editing is fact-checking. If you write something, and not everything in it ends up being totally accurate, people will notice and you will be called out on it. It’s an easy way to damage your reputation and stop readers from coming to your site. So, in order to prevent this, you need to learn how to fact-check.

    There’s far more to fact checking than just Googling something to double-check it’s right though, so here’s a journalist’s guide on how to verify your content is correct.


    Know what needs to be fact-checked

    When reading through and editing someone’s article, there are a number of things you should look out for to double-check. Dates are an important one, whether you’re talking about what year the Great War began or when an upcoming family event is taking place. It will only take a quick search to confirm whether the date of a big, important event is correct, but for smaller events you’ll need to check the original source. Another thing to get right is periods of time. You don’t want to mention a certain date and then claim it was the Victorian period, when it was in fact the Edwardian.

    People’s names are vital to get right. Imagine if someone got your name wrong, you’d be pretty annoyed, and if you’re a journalist, it can cost you an important contact – so get it right. Many names are shared between the sexes, so it can be easy to refer to someone as “he” when actually, they’re a “she”. It doesn’t take two minutes to look this up, so make sure you check before hitting publish.

    Make sure you get brand names right too, especially in terms of capitalisation. For example, the Sony brand PlayStation needs an uppercase ‘s’, not a lowercase one. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but a gaming website would look very unprofessional if they got such a thing wrong. Brands can be very particular about the way their names are spelled, spaced and capitalised, and getting it wrong might cause some upset, as well as make you look foolish.

    With quotes, you need to ensure that no words are missing, or the quote hasn’t been cut to change its original meaning. Mis-quoting someone will not only anger them, it can also potentially become a legal issue.

    All facts, figures, percentages, and monetary amounts also need to be verified by you, the editor. It’s all too easy to accidentally add a zero to seven and therefore change an entire news story.

    Lastly, if the article mentions “the late Joe Bloggs”, make sure Mr Bloggs has actually passed away. At the same time, if someone is talking about someone as if they are alive, but you suspect they are not, trust your instincts and look it up.

    Double-check everything, even if you think it’s right

    Although it’s good to think like a journalist and trust your instincts, you shouldn’t rely on them completely. You might think you know how to spell a certain actor’s name, but you should always double-check just in case you’ve got it wrong. Spending a couple of minutes looking something up is going to be far easier than dealing with angry phone calls and emails when you get something wrong. Even if you didn’t write the original piece, the editor holds just as much responsibility for whatever’s published, so bear that in mind.

    Fact-checking news stories

    When fact-checking news stories, the best way to begin is to find the original sources used by the journalist or writer. Double-check to see...

    The complete article, A Journalist’s Guide to Fact Checking, can be read here

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query


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