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Posts Tagged ‘PCNY’

New Media Influencers on Rebranding, Expansion and ‘Obsessions’

Mic.com Logo“Voice, perspective and messages framed so they resonate with younger readers have all become more important in media now. That means having our ears to the ground in politics and entertainment, then packaging topics accordingly”, said Jake Horowitz, founder and editor of Mic (formerly PolicyMic).

Mic is among a growing number of media brands that launched or renamed recently, like re/code (formerly AllThingsD), Vox.com and Quartz. Editors from these outlets appeared on a PCNY panel on Thursday to discuss their latest moves.

While these sites generally don’t use PR-related pitches, that may change over time. Given their global focus, one could equate landing a story in these outlets to the U.S. soccer team’s World Cup game vs. Ghana: challenging but not impossible.

Here’s a brief rundown on each outlet and their approach.

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The Diverse Dimensions of Pitching Shelter and Design Stories

Lonny Magazine Door Numbers PRN PostAspirational or accessible, fabulous celebrity properties or home makeover solutions, brand new items or older but undiscovered products? These are a few of the many choices in the disparate home, garden and design media category. Types of outlets have also expanded, from coveted ‘shelter’ magazines to sought-after blogs to TV shows and out-of-home taxi video segments.

Pitching opportunities for stories and product placements have similarly increased. PCNY’s panel on Monday featured editors and producers from six home and design media outlets, all providing clues about optimal approaches. They also offered tips about what to send, such as photos or videos. One brand even has a ‘submit story’ button on their site.

The following national and local media outlets and panelists were represented:
NBC/LXTV Open House, Tracy Evers, supervising producer
Hearst Design Group’s 3 brands: Elle Décor, House Beautiful and Veranda, Orli Ben-Dor, Market Editor
Lonny, digital magazine, John Newlin, editor-in-chief, Livingly Media
Apartment Therapy blog, Maxwell Ryan, founder and CEO
Inhabitat website, Jill Fehrenbacher, founder and editor
The New York Observer newspaper, Kim Velsey, senior editor, real estate, development, urban planning

(First image is courtesy of Lonny.com, and second image is courtesy of Veranda.com)

Below is a brief rundown by outlet:

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The Art of Creating and Pitching Well Crafted Op-Ed Pieces

Even Rodin, the French sculptor who created iconic images like The Thinker, (left) might have a hard time getting his opinions published in some media outlets today. That is, unless the artist also possessed a writing style with a strong viewpoint that was provocative or counterintuitive with a catchy, conversational tone.

Those were some of the pointers from the editorial panelists at a recent PCNY event on pitching opinion pieces, bylined and contributed content. Other desirable criteria include articles with compelling angles that are well sourced and grounded in facts. Self-serving or promotional pieces don’t make the cut. So if a sculptor like Rodin was intent on seeing his name in print or online, he’d be well advised to write about the fine arts category, not focus exclusively on his own masterpieces.

The panelists represented a broad array of digital and print outlets with varying degrees of difficulty for outside submissions to break through. These included: CNN Digital, Bloomberg View, Business Insider, The Huffington Post, Ad Age and The Muse. Of course the industries these media brands cover aren’t targeted or limited to art. They encompass categories ranging from politics and economics to technology, marketing, media, careers and lifestyle.

Each editor painted a brief picture of their outlet and provided tips for prospective guest contributors.

CNN Digital: The Opinion section of the site “hosts a wide range of views across the spectrum of politics, religion, arts and other areas”, explained Richard Galant, senior opinion editor. They only publish one or two outside submissions per day, and they want original, exclusive hooks to ongoing news stories.

Bloomberg View: Editorial board member Frank Wilkinson described the two-year old site as “a startup within a large news organization”. He said their op-ed page only takes selected outside contributors since they now produce more opinion related content in-house. Their core focus is the intersection of economics, finance, government and cultural issues, and they look for densely researched pieces.

Business Insider: The site has evolved, according to managing editor Jessica Liebman. There are now 15 sections, like technology, finance, retail, politics, sports, lifestyle, military and defense, with plans to add energy and healthcare. Their current focus is having quality contributors and selected bloggers post about newsy or fun topics.

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Crack the Code: Pitching Tech and Startup Stories

With the media echo chamber focusing on the same top tier tech companies, startups have a harder time getting noticed. But at least now your client’s company doesn’t have to be from Silicon Valley to gain media traction. New York’s own Silicon Alley has attracted increased attention from tech reporters, due in part to the success of startups such as foursquare and Fab.com. As Devindra Hardawar, national editor for VentureBeat, said, “Now what’s happening in New York has become fascinating.”

Hardawar appeared on a panel at a PCNY event on Tuesday that also included NYC-based editors and reporters covering the tech and startups beat from GigaOM, Mashable, Business Insider and WNYC’s New Tech City morning radio show. The event was a follow-up to a June PCNY panel centered on mobile–and this time the topic was breaking through in the complex tech and startups space.

Recent stories the panelists wrote or produced should give PR pros some hints about the angles that hook them. Ki Mae Heussner, staff writer for GigaOM, focused on content hackathons as the future of textbooks. Alyson Shontell, an SAI editor for Business Insider, wrote about the size of startup companies’ user bases and whether ten million is the new one million when it comes to users. WNYC’s New Tech City radio host Manoush Zomorodi produced a segment featuring reporters learning to code. As Zomoradi observed, “their visits to different code training venues added texture and flavor” to reflect the reporters’ experiences.

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