Each month we have been reaching out to journalists and media professionals to chat with them about their experiences in the industry. For this month’s ‘Questions for Journalists’ we spoke with Jennifer Schiff, Senior Writer for CIO.com.
What’s the most memorable pitch you have ever received?
I’m still waiting.
Who is your favorite journalist? Why?
I have two: Gail Collins and Paul Krugman, both Op-Ed columnists for The New York Times. Both are excellent writers who have been covering their beats (politics/women’s issues and economics, respectively) for years and know how to craft a good column. What I like about Collins is her ability to find, or point out, the humor (or absurdity) of politics and politicians while discussing important issues (especially issues that pertain to women). As for Krugman, I admire his ability to present complex or confusing subjects (global markets, economic policy, etc.) in a straightforward, understandable way, something I aim to do with my own writing.
What tips would you give someone on pitching to you?
However, since people no longer seem to have the time or patience to read (even a short blog post), the most important tips I can give someone pitching me (or any reporter) are:
1) Take a look at all the articles the reporter has written in the last year. You don’t have to read them beginning to end. Just skim them. That way you know what area or areas the reporter covers, what she has written about recently (and so is not likely to write about for a little while), and what the format of her articles or column is. (I write a “Top 10” column, which I’ve been doing for years, yet I constantly get pitched company profiles and product reviews, which anyone who read my work would know I don’t do).
2) When you pitch, make it clear in the subject line that you are submitting a pitch. In the body, address the reporter by name and give a brief summary of your idea. Do not bombard the reporter with information (I HATE getting mass-mailed press releases or having PR people basically submit the article they want me “write” in the first, or any, email) — and, again, make sure the subject of your pitch is in the reporter’s wheelhouse.
3) Do not pitch reporters via Twitter or LinkedIn. Follow them on Twitter, to find out what they are working on, and connect with them on LinkedIn, IF you have a relationship with them (I do not accept invites from people I don’t know, nor do many reporters). But do NOT pitch them via social media. Always send an email, at least the first time you are pitching them.
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