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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    Pitching to Social Good and CSR Media

    Tuesday, February 16, 2016, 4:13 AM [General]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    The Publicity Club of New York held their first panel luncheon of 2016, featuring some of the most prominent journalists who cover social good and CSR.

    A special thank you goes to Peter Himler, president of the Publicity Club of New York, who hosts each event and always brings out the best in each journalist.

    This panel consisted of:

    Here are a few highlights from the discussion:

    Stacy Palmer, The Chronicle of Philanthropy

    The magazine targets an American audience of nonprofit CEOs and those in a decision-making capacity in the industry.

    "It’s important to us that we influence the journalism about the nonprofit world," said Palmer.

    The print version of the magazine comes out 12 times per year, with additional articles on their website.

    For the online edition, they look for how-to's, breaking news, trends. For the print version, they look for examples of what's working and making a difference, what's innovative, big ideas in nonprofit world, ways to improve fundraising and volunteerism.

    They also produce a daily email newsletter, Philanthropy Today, which Palmer says is the best way to keep on top of what is being covered.

    When pitching, don’t pitch same story to everyone. If you do pitch to more than one person at the publication, let them know you've pitched to someone else.

    For more on what makes a good pitch for Palmer, check out this short video:

    Palmer can be reached at stacy.palmer@philanthropy.com

    Matt Petronzio, Mashable

    Petronzio looks to highlight stories that are empowering, or stories of people looking to change the world.

    Readers are savvy. They know what they want and they know they want to change the world. They want to provide tangible steps to make change.

    A lot of coverage is focused on social impact, activism, philanthropy and innovation. They also focus on social justice, social enterprise, and global health.

    Petronzio said he's looking to cover stories about racial justice, disability rights, indigenous rights, the environment, climate justice, and LGBTQ issues.

    Also, video is huge at Mashable, and the audience is increasingly visual, so keep that in mind when pitching. They use Periscope and Snapchat Discover.

    Tip: When pitching, get your key points in the subject line.

    Check out this short video to hear from Petronzio himself on what he's looking for in pitches:

    You can reach Petronzio by email at mpetronzio@mashable.com

    Morgan Clendaniel, Fast Company's Co.Exist

    Co.Exist is Fast Company's website focusing on world-changing ideas and innovation. The site launched in 2011 and has a technology and business focus.

    Clendaniel said they like to cover startups, especially if they make a difference. They also focus on the environment, climate change and social inequality, and are looking to cover scientific and technological solutions to scarcity problems.

    You can reach Clendaniel at mclendaniel@fastcompany.com

    Alex Kaufman, Huffington Post

    Kaufman said that only a small amount of time goes to contributor content. His focus is on writing original stories and overseeing the team of editors and reporters who do that.

    Kaufman is interested in stories on sustainability and climate change. He's looking for ways the private sector is coming up with solutions for reducing their own carbon footprint, as well as stories about purposeful work -- what’s driving a company? He's also looking for innovations in workplace wellness.

    According to Kaufman, the big five topics that need to be addressed are addiction, climate change, extremism, inequality and race.

    To have an ongoing relationship, check in and recommend people you may have that have knowledge on a topic. Be useful to the reporter.

    Here are some more pitching tips from Kaufman himself: 

    Email Kaufman at business@huffingtonpost.com

    Rebecca Eisenberg, Upworthy

    Eisenberg is one of the founding editorial voices of Upworthy. The site has 8.7 million likes on Facebook and highlights companies and small businesses that do good things.

    "Everything we do is about making the world a better place," she said. Their goal is to build awareness on stories that matter and tell them in a way that makes people care about those issues.

    PR reps can pitch stories but will get forwarded to the collaborations team.

    Upworthy doesn't t do native advertising as much as sponsored partnerships with companies and clients that are aligned with their mission and help them find ways to tell stories in ways that connect with the audience. If your goal is to just raise awareness and you’re not going to shift any dollars to actually making a change, it raises a red flag, said Eisenberg.

    Their video team just launched and is testing 10 pilots, all original videos in a Netflix-type model. The editorial and video teams do collaborate with each other.

    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

    Skills Journalism Students Need to Learn

    Thursday, February 11, 2016, 2:29 PM [#ConnectChat]
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    On Tuesday, Feb. 9, we hosted our latest #ConnectChat, "Skills Journalism Students Need to Learn," with our guest Kelley Callaway, president of the College Media Association and director of student publications at Rice University.

    Kelley discussed the importance of knowing social media, what media outlets are looking for in job candidates, professional newsrooms compared to student media and a lot of other topics student journalists need to learn.

    In this recap we've also included tweets from #ConnectChat participants who gave helpful information.

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


    What are the biggest misconceptions students have about working in a professional newsroom?

    The amount of work involved. Working on multiple projects at a time. Importance of actually meeting deadlines.

    Do many think the real world is like a college newsroom?

    I hope they don't! I think most college journalists expect the professional world to be harder than college.

    @comminternships: Journalism is definitely a complex skills set that requires hands-on practice to master. You can’t learn it from a book.

    Besides professional skills, what about actual interviewing skills for when they’re looking for a job?

    Students need to learn how to talk positively about themselves when they are being interviewed. They also need to do a lot of research about the company they are hoping to work for. They also need to be able to articulate their vision and how they think they can achieve that vision while contributing.

    @chuckmoran7: For journalism students, I recommend finding a good mentor too. Find someone who can help guide you as you enter a newsroom.

    @dailysuitcase: Key for interviews--ask questions. Even though employer is interviewing you, don't make it all about you. Be engaged and ask away.

    What’s the reality with regards to workload in a professional newsroom?

    There’s definitely more work in the professional world, but you don’t have class anymore! So learn to multitask in college.

    @comminternships: Newsrooms across the board are evolving at a rapid rate. Your skills set must be more diverse than ever to stand out.

    Are all students expected to be well-versed in social media?

    Oh, heck, yeah! Not only should they be well-versed, they should be able to predict the next big thing. Employers look to students and recent grads for technical know-how, social media savvy. Employers want young people to have fresh ideas and out-of-the-box thinking so students have to develop these skills.

    Should students have social media accounts and is basic knowledge enough these days?

    Yes, but they need to manage them well. Avoid politics, etc. Realize they brand themselves through social media. They need to manage multiple accounts. Not just the most popular. Learn how to tell stories through Snapchat, brand their pub through Instagram. Go beyond the obvious. Yes! The more they know, the more marketable they are!

    @comminternships: Social media skills are vital. Not just current platforms, but students need to be able to identify the next big thing. Students should understand SEO, tagging, Ad Words, analytics, pretty much all web metrics.

    @chuckmoran7: Twitter for example is a good tool to follow sources and engage readers.

    Some of our guests have mentioned writing and grammar skills. If these skills aren't as strong as they should be can they still get a job in a newsroom?

    @comminternships: Skills numbers one and two: Excellent written and oral communications skills, which means impeccable grammar skills.

    @chuckmoran7: Important skills -- highly recommend listening skills and research skills for those just getting started.

    They can in college, but it's going to be much harder in the professional world. As professional newsrooms shrink and pros are asked to do more with less, new professionals need to be prepared from day one.

    What other things should students be proficient in as they start looking for their first job? What do future employers want to see?

    Employers want to see applicants that have stepped outside their comfort zones. They need to do a little bit of everything. Writers need to shoot video. Broadcasters need to write. Need to understand the business side. Need to understand marketing.

    @comminternships: Employers want tech skills, yes, but you must still be able to tell a compelling story. That's a top skill many students lack.

    @chuckmoran7: Outside of skills they need to be open to moving to get that first job & probably not be paid as much as they'd like.

    @dailysuitcase: They should also know how to do original reporting...and not just tracking things down on the Internet.

    We know from reports like Poynter’s “Core Skills for the Future of Journalism" that there’s a gap between what media professionals and college professors think are the most important journalism skills for students to learn. I’m interested in hearing from folks about how they respond to students who reject feedback from either party (pros or faculty), claiming one or the other is “right," and who we might try to reconcile the differences.

    We need to expose students to different viewpoints. Both sides are right. There is great value in learning the basics and traditions of good journalism. And students need to be aware of what employers are looking for. But they also need to love media for media’s sake. Not just a grade or a paycheck.

    Can you tell us about the College Media Convention in New York? When is it? 

    It's a great place to learn or hone all the skills we've been talking about. It's March 12-15, and it's fabulous. 200 sessions. One Day Innovation Challenge. Film Festival. On-site contests and critiques.

    Who should attend?

    Everyone! Especially the future leaders of student media outlets. It’s a great place to get energized for the next school year.

    How can you register for the conference?

    You can register for the spring convention in New York at ow.ly/Y8CYZ

    CMA is all about serving advisers and their students. We also offer summer training.

    acpcmasummer16.org/ 

    Do internships really offer the best view of reality or is there another way journalism students can see what the real world is like?

    If a student wants to pursue media professionally, they really need to work for collegiate media. They need to learn more than what is taught in a classroom. Journalism is about doing it. Internships are an excellent step in exposure, but it all depends on the media and the people overseeing the internship. Internships allow students to make contacts and get a taste of professional experience. Student media gives them ownership and a chance to try new things (and fail in a relatively safe environment).

    @chuckmoran7: Internships, yes where available. Part-time and stringer work also helps build experience. Students need to think mobile in learning how to be a journalist.

    With video being a huge part of all outlets, should students learn how to edit video and know about editing programs?

    Absolutely! Students need to at least be able to shoot and edit a simple video. The more skills they acquire, the better. Verify sources. Question everything. Try to talk to folks in person.

    What about digital newsgathering?

    Students need to learn how to gather news in every fashion possible. And the same care needs to go into that.

    Is knowledge of the political system and of the various agencies (local, state, etc.) necessary?

    They need to do learn those same things in the professional world. Attend meetings. Read the laws. Talk to the lawmakers.

    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: Skills Journalism Students Need to Learn

    Thursday, February 4, 2016, 2:33 PM [#ConnectChat]
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    Our next #ConnectChat, "Skills Journalism Students Need to Learn,” will feature Kelley Callaway, president of the College Media Association. Kelley's been involved in the organization since her graduate school days and used to attend conventions as an undergraduate. She is director of student publications at Rice University in Houston, where she advises The Rice Thresher newspaper and The Campanile yearbook. 

    Kelley will discuss what journalism students can expect once they start working in professional newsrooms, what they need to learn before they get there, the differences between working in college media and other news organizations and much more.

    The chat will take place Tuesday, Feb. 9 from 3 to 4 p.m. EST.


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

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

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

    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: The Dreaded Correction

    Friday, January 29, 2016, 4:54 PM [Media 411]
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    No other word strikes fear in the heart of journalists like the word “CORRECTION.” Ooh, I just got the chills! We all do our best to get the facts straight, but sometimes we make mistakes. We’re human, right? But how can we avoid making errors and avoid that dreadful fix with which no one wants to be associated?

    Read on and click on these stories which will provide some insight on this important topic for any journalist:

    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: Alex Kasprak, BuzzFeed

    Monday, January 25, 2016, 2:44 PM [Spotlight]
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    Welcome to our SPOTLIGHT feature, where we highlight a journalist and ProfNet user to share their personal story and insight with you.

    Alex Kasprak is a science writer with experience as both a scientist and as a science communicator. Before turning to writing, he studied fossilized chemicals in ancient rocks in an effort to shed light on dramatic periods of environmental change during mass extinction events.

    As a writer, Kasprak has focused on science communication and outreach over traditional journalism. He has written features for NASA’s Visualization Explorer and worked for two years at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as the primary writer and content producer behind three of NASA’s websites geared toward elementary and middle school-aged kids.

    Now at BuzzFeed, Kasprak has written hundreds of science stories on topics that range from the realities of human courtship, near-death astronaut experiences in space, flatulence, dinosaurs, booze, marijuana and, obviously, animals. He firmly believes that Pluto should not be a planet.

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

    Did you always know you wanted to be a journalist or did you have another plan?

    Being a journalist wasn’t really on my radar when I was going through high school and college. Pretty early on as an undergrad at Skidmore College, I decided that I really liked geology and that I would love it if I could teach it someday at a small college like Skidmore. I finished all the coursework and internships needed to get into grad school and was ultimately accepted into a PhD program in geology at Brown University. Academia ended up not being for me, so I took my master's degree and left. In a panic, I looked into other jobs that people with a science background and writing skills could do.  I Googled “science” and “writing” and learned that “science writing” is totally a thing. I applied to one-year science writing program at Johns Hopkins University and was awarded a fellowship to attend. Ever since then I have been writing about science for a living.

    Where was your first job in journalism?

    My first unpaid gig was an externship with Earth magazine where I pitched and wrote earth science stories while working on my program at JHU. I also got my first paid gig during that program, as a weekly writer for the NASA Visualization Explorer app.

    What type of stories do you focus on at BuzzFeed?

    I generally cover shorter, lighter science stories or produce sort of “best of” lists of science facts and other science culture stuff for BuzzFeed. I typically don’t cover a single scientific study or breaking science story but focus instead on collections of science stories and facts about a specific topic or theme. Creepy animals, weird phenomena, outlandish ideas about humanity, evolution, consciousness, and stories with a strong visual component are always popular. I don’t have a specific beat per se, but I spend a lot of time writing about space, astronauts, and fossils.

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

    I pitch almost all of my stories myself. BuzzFeed gives us a great deal of freedom in that regard.

    What do you like most about your role at BuzzFeed and is it as fun to work there as it seems? 

    I like that BuzzFeed allows me to experiment with bringing more science to their pretty considerable audience. Not only do I get a great deal of freedom on the topics I choose, but also I have the freedom to figure out new and creative ways to convey information or tell a story in a new way. I also have more of an opportunity to inject weird humor into my posts in ways that other outlets might avoid, which is always a hoot.

    BuzzFeed is probably is as fun as it looks. Though we don’t have a full-time kitten room for our pitch meetings and we have only a handful dogs in our office at any given time, I am always surrounded by a ton of cool and brilliant people whose interests are all over the place. Everyday is both challenging and fun. Also, one has to imagine that from a probability standpoint, the likelihood of there being a kitten room at BuzzFeed on any given day is probably orders of magnitude higher than most other offices.

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

    People pitching stories to me should be familiar with the TYPE of stories that BuzzFeed Science writes — we rarely do single study findings, and most of our stories try to evoke some sort of human emotional response outside of simply “gee wizz, that’s cool.” Also, I will also always reject any pitch that is clearly just an effort to get me to advertise something corporate. That is not my job, and there is a whole other division of BuzzFeed for advertisers anyway.

    What should they always do?

    A strong pitch to me would involve not only an idea, but also why people on the internet would want to share it with a friend when they are done reading it.

    Never do?

    Pitch products or corporate campaigns. They should also avoid writing an entire post for me and ask me for my thoughts on it. It’s not a super efficient way of doing things, and BuzzFeed actually has a place for community members to write stories for the site directly.

    How can someone in PR/marketing approach you in order to develop some sort of work relationship?

    Shoot me an email! Let me know what you have to offer and I can let you know what kinds of pitches are most likely to work on my end.

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

    For me, I can never have too much information about why a given expert is indeed an expert in his or her field. It also helps to see that the expert is good with interviews and, best case scenario, has as good sense of humor as well.

    What type of experts do you prefer?

    My favorite experts are people who research quirky, specific, and esoteric things but who can also make those weird things appeal to a broader audience. One of my favorite interviews from ProfNet was with a professor of mechanical engineering who had an incredibly detailed knowledge of Star Wars and a very creative way of relating his expertise to that genre. He helped me write a post answering absurd science questions about the Star Wars universe.

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

    I use it both to promote my own work as well as keep a pulse on what’s happening in science journalism and with the world in general. The latter is my favorite part about social media.

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

    Without question it was working on a series of stories about retired astronauts. I got to speak with a number of insanely qualified and absurdly brave astronauts and have them tell me all kinds of crazy stuff about almost dying in space, about how gross some aspects of astronaut life were, and different mistakes that can happen, both big and small, while on missions. These were things that they probably couldn’t have said while still employed as astronauts. I could listen to those men and women for hours and not get bored.

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

    I think it’s important to be passionate not just about your own success, but also about some topic that you can really make your own. I got into science writing from science, so I already had a strong interest in fossils and evolution. I think building those specific interests and areas of expertise helps a great deal.

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

    PR 411: Want National Coverage? Pitch Local!

    Thursday, January 21, 2016, 4:21 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Do you struggle to get your clients on national news outlets? Don’t forget your local/smaller news outlets! With many large media outlets scouring local newspapers for story ideas, what might seem like a small opportunity might actually be your ticket to the big leagues.

    Colleen Pizarev, a retired PR executive (with PR Newswire, no less!), can attest to this.

    Colleen’s cat Spock is a 46-inch, 27-pound Maine Coon who is just 2-1/2 inches smaller than the longest domestic cat on record. Spock loves to watch what’s going on in the outside world, and you can usually find him sitting by the front window of Colleen’s San Jose, Calif., home. 

    Unfortunately for Colleen, neighbors and passersby routinely mistook Spock for a wild animal. Some of them even knocked on her door to express concern that there was a lynx being housed in the neighborhood. 

    After the article ran in the local paper, the San Jose Mercury News then picked up the story, and it spread like wildfire from there.

    “The local ABC affiliate read the story, then called and said they’d be here in 20 minutes,” said Colleen. After that, it was a massive barrage of media requests from outlets in the U.S. and abroad.

    “I never pitched this,” said Colleen. “I did the interview with the weekly paper because I was tired of people knocking on my door. I had no idea that a free, local paper with a story on page six would get out of control.”

    In her former role, Colleen worked with international clients, advising them on how to get their stories in front of the media and get the coverage they needed. The irony that she built a career helping clients get coverage from the same outlets that were now reaching out to her is not lost on her.

    “When it happens to you, you freeze a little bit. It’s different when you’re in the middle of it, especially when you’re a private person,” says Colleen. “Had this happened to a client, I’d be thrilled. The PR person in me is thinking it’s very funny. You really don’t know what it’s like for your clients until you go through it yourself. I think every PR person should go through this to get a taste.”

    Spock’s story catapulted from a local story to an international story very quickly. Before Colleen knew it, the story was on “Good Morning America,” CNN, The Huffington Post, The Daily Mail and many others. Spock’s Facebook page went from 100 likes to 800 likes in minutes, and then to 2,000 in five days. Today, the page has more than 6,500 likes.

    “A small paper turned international,” said Colleen. “It says a lot about how the Internet is voraciously consuming news.”

    Going forward, Colleen said she will tell clients to do things differently.

    “I will prep them for the possibility this could grow beyond their control,” she said. “Things will be said that are exaggerated and taken out of context, and I’ll give them my own example.”

    Colleen was able to shut down the media frenzy within six days. The way she did it was by giving interviews to major media and was very careful to control the story. "I wasn't afraid to demand the corrections or to insist the inaccuracies included elsewhere were not included in their story. I was careful to only allow photos that I supplied, but some outlets took whatever they could find from the Spock Facebook page and one outlet actually published pictures of a different cat. That was fun trying to get that one corrected," she says, sarcastically.

    She adds, "Once the outlets I decided to allow to run stories had finished, I stopped giving interviews and stopped allowing minor outlets to take photos from the page telling them this story has reached its end. By the end of Tuesday, the story arc completed and I was thrilled to get back to my regularly scheduled life."

    Colleen, who is also an artist, jokes, “I really did try to quit the biz, but it won’t let me quit.”

    Maybe now the only arcs she’ll need to focus on are the rainbows she paints on her canvas.

    Colleen writes about her adventures with retirement and media attention at www.retireddiva.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

    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]
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    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


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