Author: Keybridge

Advice from the Media | Dale Buss

Name: Dale Buss Title: Independent Journalist Media Outlet: Forbes, Chief Executive, Brandchannel.com, Wall Street Journal, Townhall Magazine and many more Twitter Handle: @DaleDBuss 1. Describe your typical workday in 140 characters or less. Pore through news. Handle increasing 24/7 blogging responsibilities. Then turn to find time for longer-term projects e.g. mag stories, books. 2. What's the best pitch you've ever received? I can't single out one of the best, but I can talk about a cavalcade of awful ones, which had one or more of these characteristics: 1) Totally clueless about what I do, specifically and/or about how freelancers or even journalists work; 2) Presumption that journalists want to or are able to work on precisely what the pitch-er happens to be proposing that day; 3) Responding to a query by offering an executive for an interview only to come back later and say he/she's not available. In short, the most effective PR folks forge a relationship with me which ends up paying off both ways. 3. The greatest words of wisdom an editor ever gave you? "More, better, faster, Buss!" -- Doug Sease, WSJ bureau chief in Detroit, 1981-1983; and another: "Boomer [his nickname for me], I want you to go out and capture the mood of the people!" -- Paul "Biff" Dysart, editor, Reedsburg (Wis.) Times Press and renowned community-newspaper editor in Iowa (R.I.P.) 4. If there was one thing you could tell every PR practitioner, what would it be? In addition to (2) above, I would urge them to learn that (most, traditional) journalists and bloggers don't wake up every day wondering how we can best promote an agency's agenda or client. Instead, we're totally focused on how to make ourselves and our clients look smart. That's how it has to be, of course. And if they can find ways to understand and, yes, exploit that truth, we're going to have a mutually beneficial relationship. 5. What's your craziest or most interesting newsroom story? I'll never forget sitting in the newsroom of the Milwaukee Journal (now the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) in 1990, at a meeting where top editors were considering our "people of the decade" section, and hearing one of my colleagues assert, in all seriousness, that Ronald Reagan didn't deserve to be on the list. Of the many, many instances I've encountered of newsroom bias and agenda-setting before and since, this was the most instructive to me. I never quite looked at "newsroom objectivity" the same again.
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Advice from the Media | Chelsea Glenn Fuller

Name: Chelsea Glenn Fuller Title: Reporter/Copy Editor Media Outlet: The Dominion Post Twitter Handle: Fulloffaith22 Personal Blog: Journalist Extraordinaire 1) Describe your typical workday in 140 characters or less. Reporting days: Receive daily assignments, go do the interviews, come back and write. Editing days: Edit news copy, design, layout and proof pages. 2) What's the best pitch you've ever received? I would have to say the best pitch/scoop I've received thus far was from an elderly lady who bombarded my office with calls that my superiors brushed off. When I finally talked to her, she informed me that she lived in a large apartment complex for low income seniors. Many residents at the complex received free lunch from a local state funded senior center. For most of the residents the lunch was their only hot meal of the day, and the number of lunches served was cut significantly without any explanation from the center or the apartment complex. That one scoop turned into seven top strip front page stories that exposed the agency's mishandling of the meal program. Words of wisdom: Don't ever totally disregard a pitch/scoop without listening to it first because you never know where your next big story will come from. 3) What are the greatest words of wisdom an editor ever gave you? My first editor told me that I should never assume that my readers already know what I am writing about... even the simplest things that appear self-explanatory. She always reminded me that it is not just my job, but my responsibility to be thorough and to produce accurate content that people can trust. After making a classic junior reporter mistake (I failed to double check the spelling of a source's name), she told me that taking extra time to double check sources, spelling and grammar are simple things that can separate good reporters from great reporters. There hasn't been a single day in my career that I haven't remembered those words. 4) If there was one thing you could tell every PR practitioner, what would it be? Don't underestimate the value of creating strong ties with reporters. Many PR professionals just send blanket releases to media outlets for the sake of convenience. But you would be surprised at the difference sending a personalized release can make. Good, relationships with reporters can be the difference between getting coverage for your client and having your release sent to the bottom of the stack.
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Advice from the Media | Rebecca Gale

Name: Rebecca Gale Title: Opinion Editor and author of Hill Navigator, Roll Call’s advice column Media Outlet: CQ Roll Call Twitter Handle: @beckgale Personal Blog: www.beckgale.com 1) Describe your typical workday in 140 characters or less. Read op-eds. Edit. File. Dispense Hill Advice. 2) What's the best pitch you've ever received? A former colleague pitched me about some inappropriate action in his office. I can’t repeat it, but suffice to say I passed it on to the right people. 3) The greatest words of wisdom an editor ever gave you? I was told to stop using so many dialogue tags in fiction writing. "Said" should be used more often than "asked," "spoke up" or "added" or any other of those shenanigans. 4) If there was one thing you could tell every PR practitioner, what would it be? Be nice. I’m amazed how many rude emails I receive when people are pitching op-eds. And follow up. Spam filters and excessive email traffic cause more delays than necessary. 5) What's your craziest or most interesting newsroom story? Writing Roll Call’s advice column has been interesting -- I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the quality of questions we’ve received. I hope it continues to be a resource for Capitol Hill staff. 6) What sets your page apart from the competition? I think Roll Call does a great job of knowing its audience. We write for the Capitol Hill community -- including Members and staff -- and it makes a big difference in reporting news that is relevant to your audience.
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Advice from the Media | Kevin Bushweller

Name: Kevin Bushweller Title: Executive Editor Media Outlet: Education Week Digital Directions (Publisher is Editorial Projects in Education Inc.) Twitter Handle: @kbushweller Web site: www.digitaldirections.org 1) Describe your typical workday in 140 characters or less. There is no typical day, seriously. One day, I might be giving a keynote speech at a national conference. And the next day I might be scrambling to get a magazine issue out the door. 2) What's the best pitch you've ever received? Let me re-frame the question: Who are the best pitch artists? They are the PR folks who think like journalists. They see how their products or services fit within a bigger picture story or trend. 3) The greatest words of wisdom an editor ever gave you? “You are only as good as your next story.” Generating original ideas is key to survival. 4) If there was one thing you could tell every PR practitioner, what would it be? If you sound like everyone else, you will not get my attention. 5) What's your craziest or most interesting newsroom story? I arrived in New York City on Sept. 10, 2001, to work on a story about the psychological impact on a high school teacher who was violently assaulted by a student. I drove to school with the teacher the next morning, arriving in Manhattan on a beautiful day not knowing what was happening above us in the air. I spent the day at the school, working on a breaking story for Education Week’s web site about what it was like to be in a school near the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001. I also used the day to observe how the teacher I was visiting handled the stress. The story about the teacher appeared in Teacher Magazine and Education Week several weeks later and eventually won a national writing award from the Education Writers Association.
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Advice from the Media | David Freddoso

Name: David Freddoso Title: Editorial Page Editor Media Outlet: Washington Examiner Twitter Handle: @freddoso 1)Describe your typical workday in 140 characters or less. I write editorials, edit columns, select opeds, assign features, deal with various administrative issues, write columns and blog posts when I can, and promote our stuff on Twitter. 2) What's the best pitch you've ever received? Pitches are completely unmemorable to me, so the shortest are the best. If it isn't immediately obvious why I should care, then I don't have time. So see #4. 3) The greatest words of wisdom an editor ever gave you? If you can say it in nine words, you can say it in seven. And if you can say it in seven words, you can probably say it in five. 4) If there were one thing you could tell every PR practitioner, what would it be? If you're going to bother me, make it good. If it's good, I'll run it. If I haven't run your piece after several calls, there's probably a reason, although sometimes things do slip through the cracks. 5) What's your craziest or most interesting newsroom story? When Phil Klein won the Andrew Breitbart award for professional journalism, I tweeted to congratulate, adding that I needed his column in five minutes or he was fired. I heard him burst out laughing from the next room.
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Profiles in PR | Linsey Godbey

Your Name: Linsey Godbey Your Position: Director of Marketing Your Business: e+CancerCare Company Website: epluscancercare.com Twitter handle: @Linsey_june (personal) Services You Offer: Working in partnership with physicians and hospitals, e+CancerCare operates a growing network of outpatient cancer care centers in markets across the country. Personally, I’m responsible for planning, development and implementation of all marketing strategies, marketing communications, and public relations activities, both internal and external. Your Niche Area of Expertise: Communications Strategy, Branding Development, Public Relations, Jokes (self-proclaimed) How Did You Get Started in This Business? After a brief stint as a pre-med student at West Virginia University, I quickly found a new home in the Journalism School, which was a much more natural fit. I moved to Washington, D.C., right out of college and landed a job as an executive assistant at GolinHarris, a global PR firm. Fast forward down the road four years, and I’m working as a senior account executive on the McDonald’s account. My next stop was the United States Senate, where I worked as a deputy press secretary for Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) for two and a half years. The assorted mix of skills and proficiencies I had to use during those two positions gave me a great communications/marketing/PR foundation – and I’m still learning more every day!
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Advice from the Media | Deroy Murdock

Name: Deroy Murdock Title: Nationally syndicated columnist Media Outlet: Scripps Howard News Service Twitter Handle: Real men don't Tweet! Personal Blog: I do not blog. I write articles. 1) Describe your typical workday in 140 characters or less. Woke up. Got out of bed. Dragged a comb across my head. Spent day worrying about the world and thinking up solutions to its problems. 2) What's the best pitch you've ever received? When Stefan Gleason was spokesman for the National Right to Work Committee, he always could get me to write about Big Labor bosses by giving me examples of union violence. He would mention someone who got his tires slashed or face rearranged by some union thugs. Like tossing a Frisbee before a Labrador, I immediately would run in whatever direction Gleason wanted. To mix metaphors, Gleason knew how to push this button, and he did it perfectly and repeatedly. 3) The greatest words of wisdom an editor ever gave you? I once asked Scripps Howard's Jay Ambrose how to handle some situation. He said, "Well, Deroy, as long as we're trying to do the right thing." I always thought that was a worthy and achievable standard that also recognized that we journalists are neither perfect nor saintly. 4) If there were one thing you could tell every PR practitioner, what would it be? Take care of the small things, and the big ones fall into place. If you have an event in New York City, for God's sake, include the cross street in the address. Where on Earth is 350 Fifth Avenue? I have NO idea. Ah. It's at West 34th Street. Thank you for sparing me from having to look that up, which just make me grind my molars. Don't just tell me that an event is on December 10. Tell me it's on Monday, December 10. I may know right away that Mondays are always bad for me. So, I quickly can decline an invitation, without having to stop, grab my calendar, leaf through it, and finally learn that this is on a Monday. Then, in a fit of frustration at the publicist's inexactitude, I must send my regrets, while also grinding my molars into mandibular dust. Also, don't call us commentators "reporters." We all are journalists. But commentators are not reporters, any more than surgeons are dermatologists, although they all are doctors. Yes, refer broadly to all of us as journalists. But some of us specifically are commentators. Some are reporters. You also have editors, producers, bookers, and others. Calling us all reporters is inaccurate, irritating, and indicative of a lack of sophistication among those who make this annoying mistake.
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Advice from the Media | Josh Gohlke

Name: Josh Gohlke
Title: Op-Ed Editor
Media Outlet: Philadelphia Inquirer
Twitter Handle: @JoshGohlke
Website: www.philly.com/philly/opinion

1) Describe your typical workday in 140 characters or less.
Respond to e-mails. Budget pages. Respond to e-mails. Edit copy. Respond to e-mails wondering why I haven’t been more responsive. Repeat!

2) What’s the best pitch you’ve ever received?
I’m lucky to have so much commentary to choose from, but sheer math forces me to decline (politely, I hope) most of the submissions I get, including some perfectly good ones. So I think my sentimental favorites are from the people who become enraged when I say no, demand explanations, urge me to reconsider, and, best of all, tell me something like, “Well, I think it’s really good!” I have yet to meet someone who agrees that I should not publish his submission.

3) The greatest words of wisdom an editor ever gave you?
My best editor in college told me to remember the acronym “KISS: Keep it simple — smart!” He was being nice; it really stands for “Keep it simple, stupid!” Most good editing comes down to this admonition.

Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch famously put it another way: “Murder your darlings.” That is, if you’re madly in love with the beauty or wit of a passage you wrote, you should probably delete it.

4) If there was one thing you could tell every PR practitioner, what would it be?
Many PR people are very conscientious about the submissions they handle. But others seem to be acting as mere conduits for whatever their clients give them — and then blaming editors for failing to publish it. I think many clients could be done an immense service by a representative who edits them or encourages them to rewrite, and who is honest about what is and isn’t likely to be published and why.

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Advice from the Media | William Beecher

Name: William Beecher Title: Adjunct Professor, University of Maryland, College Park. (Pulitzer Prize winning former Washington correspondent for the Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal and New York Times.) Personal Blog: WilliamBeecher 1) Describe what your typical workday was in 140 characters or less. When covering foreign affairs from Washington, I would start the day at the State Department, seeing sources I’d set up in advance, then move to other interviews at DOD, the White House, the Hill, the CIA, or with think tank experts or foreign embassy officials. 2) What's the best pitch you've ever received? During the Kennedy Administration officials spelled out a missile gap with the Soviet Union. It was exaggerated for political purposes. 3) The greatest words of wisdom an editor ever gave you? “Go with what you’ve got.” It was advice from Prof. John Hohenberg at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. The idea was: do as much reporting and research at you could, but when it came close to deadline, you should write the story on the basis of the best information you had at that point. You could always continue reporting and add new information subsequently. 4) If there was one thing you could tell every PR practitioner, what would it be? When your client has bad news, put it out immediately. You might have a day or two of lumps, but if you allow bad news to have legs and fester, it will bite your client endlessly.
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