Maria Perez

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    • Member Type(s): Content Publisher
      Expert
      Communications Professional
      Media - Freelancer
      Media - Broadcast
      Media - Print Journalist
      Media - Student Journalist
      Media - Web-only/Blogger
      Media - Other
      Other
    • Title:Director, Audience Website Operations
    • Organization:ProfNet
    • Area of Expertise:Website operations
    •  

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    Journalist Spotlight: Christopher Elliott, Columnist and Author

    Tuesday, May 16, 2017, 12:13 PM [Journalist Spotlight]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    In our Journalist Spotlight Q&A series, PR Newswire for Journalists and ProfNet users share their insight and advice on how PR professionals and experts can improve communications and increase their chances of being featured in their publications.

    In this edition, we catch up with Christopher Elliott, an award-winning author, journalist, and consumer advocate.

    Christopher has appeared on virtually every major TV network and has written commentaries for every major national daily, including The New York Times, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal. He has also written for or been cited as an expert in a variety of magazines, including Fortune, National Geographic, Outside, and U.S. News & World Report.

    Currently, Christopher writes columns for various newspapers across the country:

    • USA Today’s On Travel, which helps travelers understand the inner workings of the travel industry and how to make the most of their next trip
    • The Travel Troubleshooter, syndicated by King Features, appears in newspapers ranging from the San Francisco Chronicle to the Boston Globe
    • The Washington Post's The Navigator, which focuses on being a smarter, more informed travel, with an emphasis on transportation policy
    • Problem Solved, also syndicated by King Features, which helps readers resolve everyday conflicts with companies and organizations

    Christopher publishes a daily newsletter with more than 20,000 subscribers, and a consumer advocacy site, elliott.org. He also edits the family travel blog Away is Home.

    We sat down with Christopher to find out more about what he does and how you can better connect with him to get your experts featured:

    Christopher, for those not familiar with your work, can you tell us a little about the topics you cover?

    I write about customer service, with an emphasis on transportation and technology. I'm also a travel writer. I cover mostly North American family travel destinations.

    I archive all my stories on my consumer advocacy site. You can also find out more about me and follow my blog on my my personal site.

    You’ve used ProfNet for many years. What are PR pros doing right – and what are they getting wrong?

    I really like the fact that your members respond so quickly. Sometimes, I get an email within minutes of sending a ProfNet query. Unfortunately, some PR pros don't carefully read the instructions. For example, I list all the questions for my story in the query and note that I prefer to start the conversation by email, yet I still get responses from members that offer to "connect" me with their source through a phone interview.

    Is there anything PR reps can do to set themselves apart from other respondents?

    Yes, if you have an amazing story to tell or a unique insight to share, it will always rise to the top. I read every response carefully and I answer each one. I actually have created a special response for ProfNet queries that explains my process and helps PR pros understand what they can expect. I have information about timing, placement and the editing process that they tell me they find helpful.

    Are you open to cold calls/pitches? If so, what are your guidelines for those?

    Yes, absolutely. I love email because it allows me to review pitches and carefully consider them. Phone doesn't really work as well unless it's a breaking story. I list my number in my email signature, on my site and in my queries.

    Do you use social media, either to connect with people or to promote your articles?

    Yes, mostly Facebook and Twitter. I'm also a LinkedIn influencer and post all my stories there.

    What’s your favorite or most memorable story you’ve written?

    I was an intern at the Los Angeles Times in 1991. It was an incredible experience. I worked out of the Times' San Francisco bureau and basically had all of Northern California as my beat for about six months. I remember writing this story about a fox infestation on the runways at San Jose International airport. I love quirky stories like that. I don't get to write that many anymore, but maybe one day I will again…

    Journalist Spotlight: Anthony Zangrillo, Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal

    Tuesday, May 9, 2017, 11:50 AM [Journalist Spotlight]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    In our Journalist Spotlight Q&A series, PR Newswire for Journalists and ProfNet users share their insight and advice on how PR professionals and experts can improve communications and increase their chances of being featured in their publications.

    In this edition, we catch up with Anthony Zangrillo, online editor of Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal (Fordham IPLJ).

    Anthony, a third-year student at Fordham University School of Law, maintains the digital presence of the journal, including the journal’s website and podcast.

    Anthony, can you tell us a little about the topics you cover?

    Fordham IPLJ’s blog and podcast cover all areas of intellectual property law, including patents, copyright, trademark, telecommunications, internet, counterfeiting, bootlegging and piracy, entertainment and sports, First Amendment rights, and mass media law.

    What are PR pros doing right – and what are they getting wrong – when replying to your ProfNet queries?

    PR experts have really elevated our podcast. The podcast is still in its first year, and the editorial team has experimented with different formats in order to find the perfect fit for our wide audience. In the beginning, we focused on longer episodes between myself and various staff members. As the podcast grew in popularity, PR experts and ProfNet have connected us to various entertainment lawyers and IP professionals. Adding this level of expertise to the podcast has increased the quality of our weekly product.

    Is there anything PR reps can do to set themselves apart from other respondents?

    PR reps should strive to maintain and establish relationships. It is important to understand the publication’s audience and interests. Some of the best reps will respond to one of our inquiries and then keep us in mind for future topics. It makes my job much easier when there is two-way communication between PR and journalists.

    Are you open to cold calls/pitches?

    Definitely. We mainly look for novel and interesting intellectual property issues for the blog or podcast. Our coverage also includes other legal issues within the entertainment and sports areas. Send all pitches to hello@fordhamiplj.org or azangrillo1@fordham.edu.

    Do you use social media, either to connect with people or to promote your articles?

    Yes. Our main social media channel is Twitter (@fordhamiplj). We also use Facebook.

    Also, you can follow me on Instagram (@anthony_mpc) and connect on LinkedIn.

    What’s your favorite or most memorable story you’ve written?

    My favorite blog post covered Universal and Disney’s arrangement on Marvel IP in Theme Parks. This topic has been a passion project for me ever since Disney acquired Marvel for $4 billion in 2009. The article breaks down the current contracts in place between the companies and tries to make sense of the sordid custody battle over Spiderman and the other Marvel superheroes within Orlando’s theme parks.

    My favorite podcast episode covers the unauthorized use of trademarks in artistic mediums. This topic expands upon my legal note that was published within the Fordham IP Journal. It was very rewarding to further explore the exploitation of trademarks in movies, television shows, and video games. The podcast touches upon the First Amendment protections that enable artists to use these marks without fear of a lawsuit. In addition, we touched upon the feedback loop created by cautious gatekeeper studios that fear having to litigate an issue in mark clearance.

    Anything else you’d like to add?

    I want to thank the PR professionals I’ve dealt with this year and ProfNet for enabling this student publication to reach the wider professional, legal audience.

    Journalist Spotlight: Aly Walansky, Freelance Writer

    Tuesday, May 2, 2017, 1:41 PM [Journalist Spotlight]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    In our Journalist Spotlight Q&A series, PR Newswire for Journalists and ProfNet users share their insight and advice on how PR professionals and experts can improve communications and increase their chances of being featured in their publications.

    In this edition, we catch up with Aly Walansky, an NYC-based freelance writer who covers lifestyle topics for outlets ranging from Today.com to Bravo, Food & Wine, Men’s Journal, Women’s Health and many others.

    Aly, for those not familiar with your work, can you tell us a little about the topics you cover?

    It may be easier to say what I don't cover! Or at least it feels that way sometimes. Generally, my umbrella is lifestyle. I write about travel, food, spa, relationships, sex, beauty/wellness (and everything in between!).

    You’ve used ProfNet for a long time. What are PR pros doing right – and what are they getting wrong?

    On-topic answers are the best. If I'm writing about coffee, don't ask me if I'd consider writing about tea instead. The assignment is the assignment, and it's not going to change because of your pitch (sorry!).

    Generally, I do a ton of travel for my job, so if you can answer questions over email, you are going to get preference over those who need to be in person or hop on the phone. And meeting my deadline is EVERYTHING.

    Is there anything PR reps can do to set themselves apart from other respondents?

    A strong pitch. If it takes me six paragraphs to see what you are talking about, that's not good. Also, do your research -- please don't pitch me for a site I've not written for in years.

    Are you open to cold calls/pitches?

    Yes, absolutely -- but via email, not phone.

    Do you use social media, either to connect with people or to promote your articles?

    Yes! I share every one of my articles on my Twitter and Facebook feeds, and I also encourage sources to share stories they are quoted in.

    What’s your favorite or most memorable story you’ve written?

    There have been SO many. I recently did a slideshow of really creative cocktails from around the world. That one was fun to write!

    Journalist Spotlight: Lin Grensing-Pophal, Freelance Writer and Author

    Tuesday, April 11, 2017, 9:45 AM [Journalist Spotlight]
    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    In our Journalist Spotlight Q&A series, PR Newswire for Journalists and ProfNet users share their insight and advice on how PR professionals and experts can improve communication and increase their chances of being featured in their publications.

    In this edition, we catch up with Lin Grensing-Pophal, a freelance writer who has written on everything from health and wellness to relationships, careers, HR-related topics, marketing communications and social media. (She doesn’t write about history or geography, and doesn’t write résumés -- except, on rare occasion, for a close friend or relative.)

    Grensing-Pophal has written numerous books, articles, white papers, reports, newsletters, e-letters, brochures, websites and blogs.

    Innately curious and passionate about learning new things, she enjoys the challenge of a new assignment and the excitement of uncovering interesting facts, opinions, and statistics from a variety of sources and weaving them into copy that resonates with a specific target audience.

    In her "day job," Lin -- whose "real name" is Linda Pophal -- owns and manages a communication firm, Strategic Communications, LLC.

    For those not familiar with your work, can you tell us a little about the topics you cover?

    I cover a wide range of business topics, including HR/employee relations, small-business management and marketing communication/digital marketing topics.

    You’ve used ProfNet for a long time, so I’m sure you've gotten a lot of replies to your queries over the years. What are PR pros doing right – and what are they getting wrong?

    Over the years, I've had the opportunity to work with some great PR people, and I rely on them frequently for input and sources. Those that are doing things right generally do the following:

    • Only respond to queries that they can really address through relevant sources or information.
    • Send responses that are very detailed and thorough, allowing me to determine whether their source would be right for the piece. These days, many of the most detailed responses negate the need for a phone interview, which provides benefits for both reporters and sources (sources can be more assured that their input will be incorporated accurately compared to doing phone interviews).
    • Avoid being overly promotional, and focus on providing relevant and valuable information for the target audience.
    • Respond promptly and meet deadlines.

    Things that I see some PR reps doing that may hurt their ability to get exposure for their clients are:

    • Sending general responses like: "I've got a great source for you." ProfNet is highly used by many, many PR people and others looking to get exposure so, for any given post, there will likely be dozens and dozens of responses. Reporters will not take the time to check in with you to see how great your source is. You should convey that in your initial email, with background information pertinent to the post and, whenever possible, thorough responses to the initial questions asked. It's highly likely these days that reporters will simply pick up on the detailed responses they receive from sources rather than take the time to set up and conduct interviews.
    • Contacting the reporter again (and sometimes again and again...) just to make sure they got your initial email. They did. If you haven't heard back, it's because other responses were more relevant/pertinent.
    • Making demands, suggestions or requests of reporters. The reporter is your "customer" in these instances. You should focus on serving their needs, not insisting that they meet yours. Again, competition is stiff. There are plenty of good sources to go to; if you make too many demands or make things difficult for the reporter you're unlikely to be called upon for this, or future, stories.

    Is there anything PR reps can do to set themselves apart from other respondents?

    I think the most important thing they can do is to ensure that they're providing good sources and detailed content aligned with the query.

    Are you open to cold calls/pitches? If so, what are your guidelines for those?

    No, it's rare that a cold pitch would align with a story I'm working on. 

    Do you use social media, either to connect with people or to promote your articles?

    Yes, primarily to promote my articles, although I'll sometimes use LinkedIn to find sources for pieces where I'm just not getting the right pitches or finding what I need through other channels. 

    What’s your favorite or most memorable story you’ve written?

    Wow, that's a tough one! I think it would have to be a series of two stories I did a number of years ago for HR Magazine on employee communication. The first one was on best practices for organizations communicating with employees, and the second was on establishing channels and opportunities for two-way communication.

    Not only did I really enjoy the research and gained a lot of great insight from sources that was also helpful to me in my "day job" at the time as a director of corporate communications in the healthcare industry, but the editor, Leon Rubis, sent me a note saying how much he liked the pieces.

    Anything else you’d like to add?

    The only other point I'd make is that, because I also now work with clients on their behalf to help them get media exposure (and do the same for myself), the lessons learned as a writer in terms of what works well and what doesn't have really helped me to do a better job of crafting pitches and getting coverage -- learning what to do and what not to do from the reporter's standpoint.

    For more on Lin Grensing-Pophal, visit her website at www.lingrensingpophal.com.

    Journalist Spotlight: Christian Science Monitor’s Harry Bruinius

    Thursday, April 6, 2017, 9:09 AM [Journalist Spotlight]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    In our Journalist Spotlight Q&A series, PR Newswire for Journalists and ProfNet users share their insight and advice on how PR professionals and experts can improve communications and increase their chances of being featured in their publications.

    In this edition, we catch up with Harry Bruinius, a staff writer and editor for the Christian Science Monitor.

    Originally from Chi-town and now based in Manhattan, Bruinius has been writing for the Monitor since 1999 and covers politics and other regional news.

    His first book, “Better For All the World: The Secret History of Forced Sterilization and America’s Quest for Racial Purity,” is a narrative history of the eugenics movement in the United States, tracing the lives of the victims of forced sterilization and the men and women who pioneered history’s first program of genetic engineering. The book was a finalist for the 2002 J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award, placed on Booklist “Editor’s Choice 2006” and named one of New York Public Library’s “25 Books to Remember from 2006.”

    Bruinius also moonlights as an adjunct professor of journalism at Hunter College in NYC, where he also teaches religion. His courses include Journalism as Literature, Religion and Film, and The Problem of Evil.

    For those not familiar with your work, can you tell us a little about the topics you cover?

    I am a political reporter, and I focus primarily on religion, law enforcement and, most recently, immigration. We are a national publication, so our focus is broad. We also tend to focus on analytical stories rather than breaking news, so I take a look at various modes of thought within with various political issues, trying to foster greater understanding between people of varying cultural and political backgrounds. 

    You’ve used ProfNet for a long time, so I’m sure you've gotten a lot of replies to your queries over the years. What are PR pros doing right – and what are they getting wrong?

    It's always helpful when a PR pro includes a brief, quotable blurb from their clients in response to one of my queries. And I appreciate even more a longer, detailed response, which makes me more likely to either contact that person or even quote from the responses they take the time write and send to me. A conversation is always preferred, of course, but sometimes deadline pressures make emailed responses enormously helpful.

    Clear links to bio pages, summaries of qualifications, as well as detailed areas of expertise and past research are also critically helpful in sorting out which experts are most relevant to a given story. I keep a detailed email filing system, organized by topics and subtopics, which include all high-quality responses I get from PR professionals, and I refer to these files whenever I begin a new story.

    Are you open to cold calls/pitches? If so, what are your guidelines for those?

    Generally, no. I get a lot of press releases in my inbox already, and getting more of these would not be helpful per se. But, you never know when or if a particular pitch could lead to a great story.

    Do you use social media, either to connect with people or to promote your articles?

    I do, on both Facebook and Twitter.

    What’s your favorite or most memorable story you’ve written?

    Behind America’s Seismic Shifts on Transgenderism, Loving Parents


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