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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Media Notes

Notes from today’s (9/23) Publicity Club of New York luncheon, featuring five reporters/bloggers covering new media: 

Nicholas (Nick) Carlson, editor, The Business Insider (TBI):  Speed is vital for online media.  When he contacts a publicist, the story is already written; he is mostly seeking verification and supplemental information.  Embargoes are passé:  He will honor them but not do the story because everyone will essentially have the same story and he wants to break news.  TBI brings together several previously separate sites, including “Silicon Alley Insider.”  They now appear as sections under the Business Insider umbrella.  The site accepts 500-word bylined pieces by outsiders.

Danny Shea, media editor, Huffington Post:   Material run in the media section separates into news and blogs.  His focuses is news.  He tries to break original news and is open to pitches.  Last month Huffington Post recorded two million comments—a first for the site and reflective of what he called an “active community.”  The section uses 750-1,000-word bylined pieces by outsiders.

Brian Stelter, reporter, New York Times:  He was hired in 2007 to be one of the paper’s first bloggers.  “Every media reporter at The Times is essentially a digital reporter now,” he said.  Among the advantages the paper offers is its broad audience and multiple ways of reaching an audience.  On the other hand, there is a :”high threshold” for getting published, if only because an online item can suddenly become subsumed by a larger story and so never see the light of day.  Being in a blog, he noted, does not mean a story won’t also appear in print: He uses the blog as a “breeding ground” or basis for pitching a related print story to his editors. 

Rachel Sklar, editor at large, Mediaite:  This is a new position for Sklar, who used to write “Eat the Press” for Huffington Post.  Mediaite is a new site (launched just after the July 4 weekend) with an obviously cumbersome name.  Sklar pronounced and spelled it more than a few times to plant it firmly in her audience’s memory.  It’s meant for people interested in media, she said.  The site accepts byline material written by outsiders.  Her job is to recruit and edit columnists.  She is receptive to online pitches (“I hate the phone”)  so long as they relate to what she covers (“I tune out superfluous overtures like white noise.”).  “Be useful,” she advised, and then “people want to use you.”

David Kaplan, correspondent, PaidContent:  He covers advertising and deals mostly with inhouse, not agency people.  He likes short pitches and likes them by email.  If he finds yours to be superfluous, he will block your future emails.

Event’s most interesting comment (from Sklar):  “The era of unverified information on blogs is over.” 

-- Jeff Bogart

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