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Posts Tagged ‘Rachel Sklar’

Coming Film She Started It Highlights Female Tech Entrepreneurs

You don’t have to be a big “Silicon Valley” fan to realize that the tech world currently suffers from a dearth of female stars. Many women within the industry–not to mention the PR firms that represent its biggest names–have addressed the issue: Rachel Sklar started the Change the Ratio group in 2010 and Nitasha Tiku of Valleywag recent published a New York Times op-ed hitting at the heart of the matter: encouraging girls to learn code.

Today, via Fast Company’s “Strong Female Lead”, we discovered that two journalists want to take the matter to the masses with their documentary film She Started It, which follows four female tech founders over a yearlong period.

The full piece is well worth a read. While we can’t imagine that a single documentary can bring dramatic change to an industry established in its ways despite its own love of “disruption”, She Started It will, at the very least, bring some much-needed attention to women following their own path in tech.

It could also be a powerful investor relations tool.

The Indiegogo campaign closed one year ago after raising nearly double its $10,000 goal total, and the trailer debuted online last month; the film is set for release in October.

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The Price of Access to the (Female) Tech World Is $850 Per Year

shutterstock_125936969Seems like a reasonable fee to join blogger/lawyer/influencer Rachel Sklar‘s mailing list, no?

We thought so, but Valleywag editor Sam Biddle remains skeptical and wonders whether Sklar is monetizing a “(free to operate) Google Groups clique”, aka her almost exclusively female web of contacts within the tech industry.

The story arose after someone leaked an email from the group, known as ““, which offers paid members varied levels of access to other members along with its acclaimed newsletter.

Read more Gets Into PR Market With PressLift

File sharing company is getting into the PR market, targeting the press release and multimedia distribution sector. A new service, PressLift, will be launched in the coming weeks.

PRNewser received a demo of the new service recently. Here is an example release.

As of now, the service includes Google Analytics, but the company is planning on adding more tracking and monitoring features as they roll out. One can also track number of views, unique views, registration, re-tweets, Facebook shares, emails, and downloads of their content. Additional features include settings for embargoes and FTC compliance, and of course all the traditional features one would expect with a multimedia wire service: social sharing/indexing, support for video, images, audio, documents, text and links.

Mediaite’s Rachel Sklar reported that Soraya Darabi, manager of digital partnerships & social-media marketing at the New York Times, is leaving to join as product lead for PressLift.

The company is considering entering the market at a price of $500 per release, although the pricing is still being debated internally and the company will want to give bulk deals to boost their user base.

One potential issue we see is that at this price, PressLift lacks the distribution capabilities that the major wire services have. A rep told PRNewser they see PressLift as a “compliment to wire services.” This could be a barrier to entry as PR agencies and internal PR teams are already looking to cut down on vendor expenses and may not be likely to add $500 on top of their existing costs for each press release. The rep we spoke with said, “most companies not using cheaper wire services such as PRWeb and PitchEngine.” They “have to use [wires like] PRNewswire” and “this is a compliment to that.”

Jason Kintzler, founder of PitchEngine, a similar press release/multimedia distribution company, charges nothing for the first 30-days of service and $35 per month/$400 per year after that.

He told PRNewser that PressLift is a “copy” of his service. “It’s merely a multimedia release creation tool – which virtually every wire service already offers,” he said. “Not sure I understand where they plan to appeal to corporations that already utilize these services. We think the future of distribution looks much different.” Kintzler’s PitchEngine counts Microsoft, IBM, Whole Foods and Zappos as clients, among others.

That being said, has been growing fast, has $4 million in venture capital funding and is led by well connected web entrepreneur Sam Lessin.

Talking New Media Reporting at Publicity Club Of New York Luncheon

There are no “deadlines.” Twitter is our number one source for getting news. We’re all kind of working 24-hours a day. Those were just some of the statements made at the Publicity Club of New York’s “New” Media Beat luncheon today.

Featuring David Kaplan of PaidContent, Nicholas Carlson of The Business Insider, Mediaite’s Rachel Sklar, The Huffington Post’s Danny Shea and The New York TimesBrian Stelter, the panel dug into what “reporting” means and how it has completely changed in the digital, social world.

PRNewser attended and live-tweeted the event. You can checkout the complete stream here and our updates here. After the event, we caught up with Huffington Post Media Editor Danny Shea for a brief video interview in which he described how he uses social media for sourcing stories, what some of the best PR pros do to get his attention and if PR is doing a good job of communicating in the real time, 24/7 news environment.

Cataloging Hacks-Turned-Flack


Journalists leaving their posts to take up careers in public relations is not a new thing, though it seems to be accelerating lately with the doom and gloom hitting the media business.

My co-editor Joe Ciarallo recently asked “Do Former Journalists Make Good PR Pros?” Most of the numerous comments offered a resounding yes, though most were in fact, former journalists. The writing, research, adherence to deadlines, dealing with a variety of people, are all important skills. Though, one agency head who requested anonymity said, “never ends well.” “Journalists would prefer to hang up on difficult clients. You can’t do that on this side of the fence.”

Moving from one side to another is both an interesting topic for PRNewser, and firmly fits mediabistro’s M.O. to help media people retrain, reinvent, and find the jobs they want.

Without further adieu, we’re adding a “hack turned flack” category to keep track of those who make the leap. I won’t go in to depth about the word “flack” though I don’t believe it’s pejorative, and hack-turned-flack is a lot catchier than journalist-turned-strategic comm consultant.

Here’s an alphabetical list of a few of the hacks-turned-flacks who have made the jump recently:

Dan Abrams, MSNBC anchor and general manager to found Abrams Research, then starting his own content play Mediaite with mediabistro’s Glynnis MacNicol & Steve Krakauer joining HuffoPo’s Rachel Sklar and the Daily Show’s Colby Hall on the masthead.

Chris Gaither from the Los Angeles Times, to Google corporate comm

Mike Hegedus, CNBC correspondent to McKinley Reserve

Keith O’Brien, PRWeek editor-in-chief to Attention

David Patton, to Waggener Edstrom’s Studio D division

Blake Robinson, founder of Crunchgear to MWW Group, on to Attention

Richard Wolff
, Newsweek to Public Strategies, Inc.

Photo credit: Me, wearing a fedora.

Abrams Research’s Mediaite Launches Today


Howard Kurtz published the first MSM look at Mediaite last night in his Media Notes column. Mediaite, the editorial venture that’s part of business image consultancy Abrams Research has drawn fire for lack of church-and-state separation, most recently by Jeff Jarvis, Buzzmachine blogger.

Though the Manhattan media scene knew the launch was impending (by way of Abrams’s Twitter feed and other sources), questions remain unanswered by both Dan Abrams, and his Editor at Large Rachel Sklar. Both have been responding to criticism with somewhat conflicting information, begging the question: is the controversy cultivated to bring in business? Sklar, the former HuffPo blogger, with her considerable connections has been acting as both publicist and editor thus far.

Abrams Research’s proposition is to use working journalists–clarified as freelancers and former journalists in Kurtz’s column–to focus-group and hone clients’ messages. Abrams and Sklar maintain that the Research division and Mediaite venture are completely separate. I spoke to Skar shortly after her scathing “dick move” rebuttal to Jarvis’s slam came out, and didn’t learn anything new about the consultancy, other than she denied the fuss was generated as linkbait, and that presumably the editorial staffers will be paid with ad dollars from Mediaite. Dan Abrams says virtually the opposite in a mediabistro Media Menu podcast interview with Steve Krakauer. If you haven’t followed this particular swim in the fishbowl, Krakauer recently jumped ship from mediabistro’s TVNewser over to Mediaite along with former Fishbowl NY blogger Glynnis MacNicol.

I explained to Sklar during our discussion that these issues don’t matter much in terms of Abrams as a public relations venture. Their clients will be satisfied if they get what they pay for, and their coverage is devoid of mentions of Mediaite, Abrams Research, and the names of people who work at either. However, if Sklar and Abrams bristle at being categorized as a PR firm, then are they offering enough services to attract enough business to pay for both ventures–assuming it takes time for the ad dollars to roll from red to black? Getting at solid messaging through the perspectives through real journalists is a new thing but may be a service fishing for only a fraction of what corporations are paying in monthly retainers. If Abrams continues to keep costs down and continues to generate sizzle with Mediaite, he could do just fine.

PS: Mediaite has been periodically down today, currently serving the message “Error establishing a database connection”.

FishbowlNY Blogger Joins Abrams Research


[McNicol with Matt Cooper, via HuffingtonPost by way of the New York Observer]

Our colleague Glynnis MacNicol, editor of mediabistro’s FishbowlNY blog is jumping ship to join Dan Abrams in his new consulting venture, Abrams research. McNichol joins Rachel Sklar and ‘Daily Show with Jon Stewart’ producer Colby Hall as editors of, the media news and aggregation blog site Abrams is launching as a “calling card“. Abrams and Sklar have been talking to a number of media writers about the venture.

If you haven’t been swimming in the New York media fishbowl lately, you may not know that BusinessWeek’s Jon Fine raised questions about Abrams’ approach to PR consulting, to which he shot back on Mediabistro’s daily podcast. Fine incidentally, is married to mediabistro founder Laurel Touby.

Related: Former MSNBC Exec Launches “Media Strategy” Firm