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    • Title:Community Editor
    • Organization:ProfNet Connect (PR Newswire)
    • Area of Expertise:Media Relations, Hispanic Media
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    Journalist Spotlight: Laurie Mason Schroeder, The Morning Call

    Monday, July 20, 2015, 3:15 PM [Spotlight]
    0 (0 Ratings)

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

    This SPOTLIGHT belongs to Laurie Mason Schroeder, a courts and crime reporter at The Morning Call in Allentown, PA.

    Schroeder joined The Morning Call in June 2014 after covering courts for Calkins Media in Bucks County, PA for 16 years. Her stories have won numerous writing awards, including three Pennsylvania Bar Association William A. Schnader Print Media Awards.

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

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

    I started out as a stringer (freelancer) in 1996 at my hometown newspaper, the Bucks County (Pa.) Courier Times. After covering dozens of school board and municipal meetings, I landed a staff position as a police reporter. A year later, I moved into the court beat and stayed there for 16 years. I now cover courts for the Morning Call in Allentown, PA.

    Did you always know you wanted to be a journalist or did you originally have other plans?

    I’m an accidental journalist. After having my own catering business for years, I decided to switch professions at age 30 so I could spend more time with my son. I started working toward a teaching degree, but after one student teaching gig I realized I wasn’t great with kids. I took a journalism class as an elective, and was immediately smitten with news reporting.

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

    I’m in a courtroom almost every day, and I enjoy bringing the law to life for my readers. The best compliment I ever got from a reader was “when I read your trial story I felt like I was there.” In Pennsylvania, where cameras and recording devices aren’t allowed in the courtroom, I’m the eyes and ears of the community.

    Do you make suggestions regarding the stories you cover or are they usually assigned to you?

    It’s about 50/50. Sometimes I’ll see a trend developing and pitch a story. Other times my editors will have an issue in mind and assign me a story. I prefer to come up with my own ideas, but sometimes other people in the newsroom have a great idea that I hadn’t thought of that turns into a front page story.

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

    Journalism is the most interesting job in the world. Every day is something new. I’ve learned so many things while covering court, and a good trial is like a Shakespearean play.

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

    Please know what I cover. A few clicks on the paper’s website or even a Google search will show you that I cover courts. Don’t send me a pitch about a diet trend.

    What should they always do and never do?

    Always be concise. Reporters are busy, and if your emailed pitch is more than a few paragraphs we’re either going to delete it or save it for later (and probably forget about it.) Never start your pitch with a “shocking” or celebrity-themed story (unless you’re targeting an entertainment writer.)

    Also, I don’t write book reviews.

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

    Follow me on Twitter. I’m @LehighCourts. You’ll get a flavor for what kind of stories I write, and you can comment or send me a message when you have an idea for a story that fits my beat. Just don’t ask me to review your book.

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

    Like I said, reporters are busy people, especially these days when we’re expected to write at least two versions of every story—one for the web and one for print—as well as shoot photos and video and keep our social media followers up to date. In my queries, I almost always request that the expert answer a few questions via email, with the option of following up with a phone call if needed. This saves time, especially when I’m simultaneously covering a murder trial while putting together a Sunday feature. Despite this request, I’ll sometimes just get a reply from a PR person pointing me to a client. PR people, please try to get your client to answer at least one question via email. It really increases the chance that I’ll use them for the story.

    What type of experts do you like to work with?

    Smart people who talk like regular folks. My readers will tune out if I quote professors who speak as if they’re lecturing a class, or industry leaders who pepper their sentences with corporate-speak. I sometimes have to ask experts to explain something as if they’re talking to a child. I’m not saying my readers are dumb, but sometimes I have less than a day to get up speed on a subject so I need experts who don’t mind putting things in simple terms.

    What has changed from when you began your career?

    The digital revolution. When I started, the Internet was brand new. I remember a staff meeting where we heard about this thing called Google. Deadlines were 10 or 11 p.m. Now, my stories need to be online almost immediately—or at least before the competition—so there’s very little downtime. I used to cover a trial, eat dinner, drive back to the newsroom and write. Now I’m hunched over my laptop in the courthouse hallway minutes after the trial ends.

    How do use social media at work?

    I use it to get my stories out and to find sources. Twitter is amazing for this. Type in a few words and, voila! You find people from all over the world who’ve posted about the subject. That’s a good reason for experts who want to be quoted to keep their Twitter accounts up to date. There are a lot of other social media sites, like Facebook and Instagram, that reporters check, but Twitter seems to be a favorite among the journalists I know.

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

    While most courtrooms are open to the public, cases involving abused and neglected children who are being taken away from their parents are closed. I wanted to write about the subject, so I started asking every judge who would listen about my story idea. Seven years and four judges later, I was finally able to get inside these closed courtrooms to observe. The result was a weeklong series on Bucks County’s Children and Youth social service agency that won several first place writing awards in Pennsylvania. It was emotionally-draining stuff. But readers were fascinated with the behind-the-scenes stories, and social workers I spoke to after the story ran thanked me for showing how difficult their job is. 

    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: Steps to Self-Publishing Your Book

    Thursday, July 16, 2015, 12:29 PM [#ConnectChat]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Our next #ConnectChat, “Steps to Self-Publishing Your Book" will feature Adam Boretz, @booklife, the editor of PW Select, Publishers Weekly's monthly self-publishing supplement, and BookLife, PW's website dedicated to indie authors.

    For six years, Adam coordinated the quarter-final round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest for Publishers Weekly and Amazon.

    Adam will answer all your questions and discuss what steps to take when you’re planning on self-publishing a book -- from writing tips, advice on art and design, steps to publishing your book and finally, marketing it to the masses. 

    The chat will take place Tuesday, July. 21 from 3-4 p.m., EDT.

    To submit questions for Adam 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: Ways Journalists Can Use Reddit

    Thursday, July 9, 2015, 3:01 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Journalists today have a gazillion ways to do research, find stories, engage with their audience and get the general information they need. Most are well-versed in social media via Twitter and Facebook but what about Reddit? Do you use it yet?

    Here are some suggestions (with links to the original articles) that can show you exactly how to use it. You can never learn enough regarding tools that may help make your life a bit easier.

    1)    Not everything there is journalism: And that’s OK. Reddit is a social news site (a play on “read it”), but its definition of “news” is much broader than what most journalists are used to. Cat pictures, memes and animated GIFs will make the front page right next to serious political or science news. Don’t make the mistake of thinking one discounts the other. There’s a lot of valuable information in the Reddit community, you just have to find the parts that are right for you.

    Source: A journalist’s quick guide to Reddit, the next thing you have to learn – Poynter

    2)    To engage users: One way Reddit can be used for engagement is in AMAs, where people invite other redditors to ask them anything. Nazanine Moshiri, roving correspondent for Al Jazeera English, did one of the outlet's first AMAs from Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Though she admitted that opening yourself up to such public scrutiny was initially nerve-wracking, she said journalists should not feel anxious about not knowing all the answers to the questions they may be asked, because people were generally more interested in hearing about personal accounts and experiences. "You can prepare a little bit by thinking through what the main issues are on the subject, but I don't think people are asking you questions just for you to give them facts and figures and soundbites," she said. "I think they just want to hear what it's really like, your take [on something] and your thoughts."

    Source: 5 ways journalists can use Reddit – Journalism.co.uk


    3)    Find sources and content, but for crying out loud, ask permission first: We’ve all seen the credit: “YouTube” — the calling sign of an overworked producer or web writer who hasn’t been able (or hasn’t bothered) to get the permission to use a clip. Well Reddit won’t stand for it. Redditors will call you out. Trust me. Moderators can (and have) prevented entire news organisations from appearing on Reddit for bad behaviour, so it’s important you do things right, etiquette wise. It all boils down to one thing: Ask permission. Redditors are, generally, nice people who want to share things. That’s the whole point — and they quite literally do it for the “karma” … karma being the score Reddit gives users for sharing things that get a lot of upvotes. What Redditors don’t take kindly to is people stealing things they’ve posted — particularly when it’s so easy to ask, and because the vast majority aren’t seeking any monetary gain.

    Source: Reddit for Journalists: Your newest super-source – Medium

    4)    The Reddit Journalist: The Reddit journalist uses Reddit like a true Redditor —as an amateur. This person is just a member of the community: commenting, questioning, kneading and prodding just like everyone else. The Reddit journalist uses Reddit to find stories, but the similarities end once he or she finds an interesting story or piece of content. The Reddit Journalist will then start talking to people, asking commenters for more information and clarification. It’s almost like he’s doing journalism on Reddit. When asked for an example of the Reddit journalist in action, Lee immediately pointed to someone he knows as /bostonjourno. In one instance, the Redditor followed up with someone complaining that his credit card information was leaked after purchasing alcohol at a local liquor store. “He was quite useful in helping people putting together the pieces,” says Lee. Once /bostonjourno started asking questions, other people came forward. /bostonjourno is none other than the Boston Globe‘s Dan Adams, and he’s adamant about his amateur-approach to Reddit. He uses it for background information and for asking questions. “You’ll ask a question and think, ‘there’s no way that someone in this random internet forum will know about this.’ But, lo and behold, someone will email you right away.”

    Source: Reddit: A Guide for Journalists – Storybench

    5)    It can look a little bit confusing. It looks a little bit overwhelming: Sign up and get started and you can start following what you’re really interested in. Identify yourself when you use Reddit: say you’re a journalist. Reddit is a very intelligent community. Be honest about who you are and you’d be surprised the reaction that you get. People are nice in general. They’re polite…Also, Reddit should not be used just to promote your own content. There is generally a ‘10% rule’ – your stories should not make up more than 10% of your total submitted links.

    Source: How journalists are using Reddit to find and share storiesnews:rewired

    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: Bouncing Back After a Layoff

    Thursday, June 25, 2015, 3:21 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    These days working journalists all likely have a fear that’s nestled in the back of their heads along with a thousand other things – the fear of losing their job.

    Although not limited to journalists, it’s definitely something those who work in media have on their minds from time to time. It’s taken hostage those days of feeling safe and comfortable anywhere. But that’s just the way it is.

    Have you ever been laid off? It’s a humbling experience. However, you CAN bounce back from the experience. 

    Kristen Hare has a wonderful article up on Poynter called “Advice for journalists who’ve lost their jobs from journalists who’ve lost their jobs” which is worth your time, regardless of whether or not you currently have a job.

    Here are some of her suggestions:

    You gotta grieve

    Mathew Ingram was among the staff who had to find a new job earlier this year when the tech blog GigaOm closed down. Ingram is now a senior writer at Fortune. His advice for people facing a shut down really depends more on the person, he said in a phone interview, and where they are in their career. Some staff at GigaOm had to get a job right away, they didn’t have money saved up or a working spouse, so they couldn’t afford to take time and look.

    “So for them, just taking whatever came along was probably good advice, although that’s not what I would normally tell someone to do,” he said. “Obviously the best advice is to start thinking about that before your company goes under.”

    Most people who go to startups do so because they care about the work and the place, he said, and so it can be hard to have a plan B. But you should. Keep in touch with people. Be aware of what else is out there. It can be hard to be pumped up and committed to your job and also be aware that it might not work out, he said.

    “It’s like being super in love but also wanting a prenuptial contract,” Ingram said. “At the end of the day, you have to do what you have to do. Thinking about the worst-case scenario is something that you should theoretically be doing.”

    There’s also a grieving process that you have to go through, he said, “just like someone dying. It’s hard to short circuit that.”

    Many journalists, wherever they work, are emotionally committed to their jobs.

    “You join these things because you’re committed to them as an idea, not just oh, hey, this would be a cool paycheck and maybe I’ll get some equity out of it,” Ingram said. “It is a lot more like a relationship than a job.”

    Don’t just send off your application

    “First is to make sure your tribe knows your outlet has shut down and that you’re looking for work,” said Meena Thiruvengadam, now an editor at Yahoo Finance, via Twitter. Thiruvengadam was among the journalists to lose her job when Digital First Media’s Project Thunderdome shut down…

    To read the complete Poynter article, please click here.

    Other articles that offer good advice:

    Laid Off? 10 Tips For Suddenly Unemployed Journalists (Recovering Journalist)

    After the Newspaper Layoff: The First Six Things You Should Do (Black Star Rising)

    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: Melissa Sachs, Senior Legal Writer, Westlaw Journal Computer & Internet (Thomson Reuters)

    Friday, June 19, 2015, 1:07 PM [Spotlight]
    0 (0 Ratings)

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

    This SPOTLIGHT belongs to Melissa Sachsan attorney, who writes about computer, Internet, privacy and social media issues for Westlaw Journal Computer & Internet (Thomson Reuters).

    Her favorite day of the week is Friday because she can bring Bella, her American Pit Bull Terrier, to the office

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

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

    This is my first job as a professional journalist.  My office is a great place to learn.  About half of the people went to school for journalism or worked at daily newspapers.  The rest of us have law degrees.  All of us are writers and editors, depending on the day of the week.

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

    I write the Westlaw Journal Computer & Internet and some stories for the Westlaw Journal Aviation.  I also wrote the Westlaw Journal Insurance Coverage.  I know I do not like writing about plane crashes or boat accidents, but some insurance stories are much more interesting than people may initially think!  Interesting topics that I’ve covered recently are lawsuits involving students or city employees posting on Facebook; searches and seizures of electronic devices at the U.S. border; and, government surveillance.  About a month ago, I wrote a story that got picked up by other news outlets — Parents lost daughter to mass shooter, now owe $220,000 to his suppliers — including by a legal journalist for Reuters who I really admire.  That was very exciting! 

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

    I pick the stories that I cover.  Sometimes my co-workers will forward me suggestions if they see something in the news that has to do with computer or Internet litigation.

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

    Oh, this question is a little unfair because I feel so extremely lucky to have my job and work in my office.  I love the fact that I get to keep up with trends in the law, especially trends involving social media or working remotely or, even, the sharing economy.  My subject matter is very broad – it covers how social media evidence can be used in a courtroom, “Twibel” (Twitter libel) or other defamation suits, hacking and who can sue whom when there is a data breach. 

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

    Send them over!  Our office publishes stories about litigation and legal news.  If the pitch doesn’t work for my journal, it may work for another one of our 30+ journals that we print through our office.  Here is a list of the topics we cover.  Generally, we accept commentaries that run from 1,500-2,200 words that are aimed at legal practitioners and C-suite executives. 

    Also, please be patient, but feel free to politely follow-up.  Like most others in my office, I wear a few hats.  Sometimes I’m an editor, but I also have weekly and daily writing deadlines.  My inbox can get a bit overwhelming so there may be a chance that I’ll miss an email that got sent while I was hunkered down and writing.    

    What should they always do and never do?

    Always feel free to run an idea by me whether it’s in response to a specific query or something they think may work with one of our publications.  But, remember, our journals are aimed at legal practitioners and business executives. 

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

    I’m happy to speak to PR people over the phone or meet in person, if that’s feasible.  I’m also happy to connect with someone on LinkedIn or Twitter.  Most PR people who are on my go-to list are people who I’ve only corresponded with over email.  Maybe eventually we’ll start following each other on Twitter, which helps because I can direct message them urgent requests. 

    I guess the best way to develop that connection is to be easy to work with.  Pulling the pieces together for an article can be tedious – getting pictures, signing agreements, planning for deadlines, sending editorial feedback, etc.  Making it a pleasurable experience definitely goes a long way.

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

    Feel free to email quickly and see if it is worthwhile to send a longer follow-up.  Sometimes I am sent generic pitches that simply don’t match the request or wouldn’t be appropriate for our audience. 

    Also, it’s helpful if they read the query fully.

    What type of experts do you like to work with?

    Usually the best experts for my articles are practicing attorneys or legal scholars.

    How do use social media at work?

    We share a few of our journal articles on two blogs published by Thomson Reuters (Knowledge Effect and Legal Solutions) and we’ll ask the teams behind the @Westlaw or @ThomsonReuters Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn accounts to share them.  I also will share articles via my personal Twitter account, LinkedIn and Facebook.  Internally, we use an instant messaging program and a Web-based intranet.

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

    I don’t really have a favorite assignment although the online gun sales story I mentioned above was a pretty cool experience because it got a lot of views and comments.  Maybe my favorite assignments have to do with cases that are underreported in the mainstream press, but that have significant legal implications.  A lot of social media cases fall into this category – e.g., a Missouri man was charged with making terroristic threats when he tweeted about a pressure cooker and the Boston Marathon during the 2013 World Series between the Cardinals and the Red Sox, but a Missouri appeals court affirmed the dismissal of the case.  A case between Google and Oracle that I wrote about in October is gaining more mainstream press coverage now and may have a lot of implications for fair use of computer code.

    The most challenging part of my work is following big class-actions that may have really quick movement in the legal system.  My journal prints every two weeks although we post stories online (behind a paywall) on a continuous basis.  For the Target data breach story that I wrote, it was hard to make sure that the information on the print deadline would be the most up-to-date because folks were filing lawsuits almost daily for a bit. 

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

    Write as much as you can and read as much as you can.  Start a blog for your writing on a topic that interests you.  Try to keep to a steady posting schedule.  Don’t be afraid of social media and connecting with people who you admire in the field.

    Finally, please tell us about Bella, your adorable dog.

    Bella is the best.  She is eight-years old.  She was my brother’s dog and was raised in a fraternity house at Penn State.  He moved to apartments in Philadelphia and New York where pit bulls were not allowed and now she lives at my parents’ house, which is close to my office.  She’s super-friendly despite her appearance!  She loves getting baths (except for tomato soup baths after she was sprayed by a skunk!) and going “bye-bye” in the car.


    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: Amusing Media Memes

    Thursday, June 18, 2015, 1:00 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)


    Memes are part of everyday life, making us laugh at ourselves and better yet, at everyone else. They make fun of almost everything and everyone and not surprisingly, the news business is usually a target.

    This week I searched for some funny memes about the industry and have included the best ones which were suitable to share. Enjoy!

    Whether you're just starting out or are an experienced writer, 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: Advice for Journalism Interns

    Thursday, June 11, 2015, 3:15 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)


    If you’re one of the lucky students who got an internship this summer (or at any other time of the year), read up on how  to do your best, make a good impression and not mess up the opportunity given to you.

    Internships don't just help you get that "foot in the door," they teach you about the industry, the ins and outs of that particular outlet, and how real journalists work. 

    Always be aware that the chance was given to you, realize it's alright and expected to know little and take this time to learn as much as you can. 

    Hopefully the tips in these articles will help give you confidence and help you as you get started on your way up the journalism ladder.

    Whether you're just starting out or are an experienced writer, 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: Ways to Improve Photojournalism Skills

    Thursday, June 4, 2015, 2:40 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    The click of a camera’s button can create an entire story, a story that needn’t a single word.

    Or perhaps an image can accompany an article, that same image equal to the words written, not more or less important than the story. Think of the biggest stories and world events in your lifetime and imagine them without an image or video. Not the same, right?

    Photographs from the past are what transport us to an actual location. We have seen the devastation of world wars, famine, drought, natural disasters. Of course those stories would still be surreal, but those images help us understand the fear, the horror or the beauty of what is being told. Images from the 19th and early 20th centuries are captivating because we can see into an era that ceased to exist a very long time ago.

    Photojournalists are an integral part of a newsroom and their role is crucial for an audience regardless of medium or whether it’s a photograph or video.

    Here's a link to a piece about New York photojournalist Ricky Flores about his experiences in the early 1980's covering a very rough time in the city's history. 

    If you’re a photojournalist or if you’re just starting, the articles below will help you get new ideas to make what you already do even better. 

    What are your personal suggestions?


    Whether you're just starting out or are an experienced writer, 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: An Innovative Online College Publication

    Thursday, May 28, 2015, 3:39 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)


    College and university publications often have some of the most clever and creative reporting around with more liberty to experiment with formats and content than their “professional” counterparts.

    That very combination of freedom and the use of technology has yielded one of the most unique online publications for a California college which has folded its print publication and has started a new editorial process that has proven to work.

    Mt. San Antonio College has its own story to tell and here, as written by Dan Reimold of the Nieman Lab, is the story of their success:

    The Mountaineer student newspaper at California’s Mt. San Antonio College no longer exists. About two months ago, the paper dropped its print edition, abandoned its website, ditched its longtime news production process, expanded its coverage base, and rejiggered its entire reporting philosophy. It also changed its name to SAC.Media.

    The result of all this reinvention: A small editorial team at a two-year school in the Los Angeles suburbs is running one of the most daring, innovative college media outlets in the United States.

    SAC.Media is one of the only student news operations hosted exclusively onMedium, the digital publishing network emerging as the next buzzworthy blogosphere. Staffers are laser-focused on hyperlocal and realtime reporting as the cornerstones of their coverage. They publish organically, without artificial deadlines — based on nothing other than when news breaks or stories are done. And they are determined to engage Mt. SAC (as the school is known) students and area residents in not just reading but responding — adopting a news-as-conversation model and showing that “student issues” are no longer confined to campus.

    For their efforts, at a recent journalism conference, a longtime student media adviser described the SAC.Media staff as nothing less than “rock stars of journalism.”

    Mt. SAC journalism professor and SAC.Media faculty adviser Toni Albertson worked for music magazines in the 1980s. She summoned a rock star relevant in that era to describe the larger byproduct of all this transformation.

    “For a long time, with the print paper, we just had to go with ‘Here’s what happened this past week or past month on campus,'” she said. “Now it’s like the doors are open. The wind’s blowing in. It’s like a Stevie Nicks video — the wind in the hair. The students are all excited. And I’m happy to come to work. Not that I wasn’t happy before. But I come to work with a whole new attitude, because I wonder, ‘What are they going to do today?’ This has turned this entire place into an experimental lab.”

    One major part of the experiment has been...

    To continue reading, please click here.

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    PR Advice from the Media: Your Questions Answered

    Friday, May 22, 2015, 10:08 AM [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.

    Since the year began, we’ve gotten some great advice regarding how to best pitch them so we’ve decided to do a midyear roundup of the best responses we’ve received to the questions we’ve asked in 2015.

    The journalists featured are:

    • George Putic, Science and technology Reporter, Voice of America

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

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

    If you want to pitch a story idea, you should make sure that I’m in charge of writing about that particular subject. (Kasia Fejklowicz)

    Give me stuff that moves the science and technology forward and looks visually interesting. (George Putic)

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

    If it’s got a local tie, tell us that in the subject line of your email (we love local). Creative ideas that spin off of current events are always welcome. Do some quick research on the writer before sending your pitch. Resist putting the “urgent” status on email. Keep the initial message short and on-topic (bullet points highlighting the details are extraordinary)…Please, please, please do not sign your email XOXO. (I see this more often than you would imagine). (Kristi Gustafson Barlette)

    They should always read their pitch and check for grammar mistakes…They shouldn’t call me unless we’ve arranged an interview. (Kasia Fejklowicz)

    Never pitch as if you’re trying to sell a product…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. (George Putic)

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

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

    Someone in PR can get to know me and develop a relationship by reaching out to me via email. Letting me know what types of experts they can put me in touch with is also very helpful. (Kasia Fejklowicz)

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

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

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

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

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

    Members who reach out to me should provide me with their background information, and why they are experts in that particular field. (Kasia Fejklowicz)

    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. (George Putic)

    What type of experts do you prefer to work with?

    I prefer to work with experts who are patient and who can explain complex topics in layman’s terms. (Kasia Fejklowicz)

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

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

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

    Do you use social media at work?

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

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

    Whether you're just starting out or are an experienced writer, 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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