Monthly Archives: April 2009

Young Professional Profile #4

Gabriel del Rio Meet Gabriel del Rio:

Gabriel currently serves as a senior account executive at the publicity firm, Bender/Helper Impact.  As a film  junkie, TV addict, production groupie and social media nerd, Gabriel leads various digital content accounts to increase audience tune-in and heighten visibility.

As a California native, Gabriel returned to Los Angeles after spending his adolescence in Miami and graduating from Florida State University with a degree in Political Science and Hispanic Marketing.

Days after arriving in Hollywood with sights focused on entertainment publicity, Gabriel found his first break when he wondered off a NBC television set as an audience member of the hit show “Deal or No Deal.” Eventually finding the production office, Gabriel charmed his way into employment as a production assistant and quickly oriented himself with life in television.

Carrying over 4 years of internship experience, senior roles with his university paper and various extra-curricular activities including student government, Gabriel was able to transition into publicity after a year managing notable accounts with major PR shops in sports, spirits and linear programming.

While away from the office, Gabriel can be found volunteering at film premieres, television programs and celebrity events.  In addition to being a program co-chair with PRSA Young Professionals, Gabriel enjoys competing in national roller hockey tournaments and assisting with the non-profit equestrian therapy center in Simi Valley, CA.

Ultimately, Gabriel hopes to pursue a career in unit publicity, working on set of feature films alongside Hollywood’s brightest talent.  As avid admirer of the Disney enterprise, Gabriel finds special meaning in one of Walt’s well-known quotes: “all dreams can become reality, if you have the courage to pursue them.”

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Are you genuine?

Check out the new post at the Bad Pitch Blog.

What’s the lesson from this particular post? ” In order to succeed you have to strive to be genuine.”  This touches on what we’ve all heard, especially in the age of digital marking and online social media: you must be authentic.

The full post can be found here.

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Meet the Media: April Meeting Recap

When advancing in public relations, nothing is more valuable than a Rolodex of trusted media contacts. During these difficult times, editorial relationships can define a practitioners capacity to secure positive coverage and become key differentiators when competing for highly contested positions. Last week, PRSA’s Young Professionals group sat down with journalists Scott Thill and Kate O’Hare at the Beverly Hills Library to gain insight into their editorial perspective, review pitching tips and discuss preferred communication methods.

The Panel:

Scott Thill: A freelance journalist whose writing has appeared in Wired, Salon, XLR8R, Alternet, Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, LA Weekly and more, Scott gave us his perspective of freelance journalist. (He can also be found @morphizm.)

Kate O’Hare: TV columnist with Tribune Media Services and blogger, Kate gave us her perspective on journalism, public relations and how we can all work together.  (She can also be found @KateOH.)

The panel moderator was YP Program Co-Chair Gabriel del Rio (@gdelrio). A recap of the program is included below. (The event was also live tweeted by @ceematt and can be found by searching for the #PRSA-LA tag.)

A typical day at the office? “It’s never typical”

For Scott, there isn’t a typical day for him is working 10 – 12 hours from his home office.  Having started in sports, he freelances for a variety of publications and shared that he’s always open to something.  “You guys are our life line.”  As a freelance journalist, he shared that he doesn’t have time to chase down everything that’s of interest, and relies on public relations professionals to do the chasing for him.  The only rule he shared is to make what you’re pitching interesting.  (A very outgoing character, Scott shared that if he’s not interested in what you’re talking about, chances are he can’t sell it to his editors and the readers wont find it interesting either.)

For Katie, a journalist who works in a news room setting in Downtown LA a typical day is different.  Working within Tribune Media Services, she focuses solely on covering television for the syndicate.  She too shared the life blood sentiment, and professional dependency journalists have with PR pros. For her, work is like a train that never stops moving.  “We take 2 – 3 weeks to prep for stories, so we’re always working on what’s next.”

How many emails do you get from PR pros? (Be honest.)

Both agreed it’s probably more than 250 a day (from different PR pros), not counting the duplicates from the same professional.

What’s the worst thing PR pros can do?

Don’t fall into the unreliable column!!  “We depend entirely on publicists to feed the beast,” shared Kate. Becoming unreliable – saying you have an interview, information or something lined up for a journalist and not being able to pull-through when you say you will (especially on tight deadlines) is considered a cardinal sin in their books.  “We’ll push you to the limit,” Kate shared, but be honest when you can get something and when you can’t.

Also, Kate shared this tid-bit about pitching: “I’ll take suggestions, but I don’t take orders. That’s just not how it works.”

Creating and keeping relationships.

A few things to follow:
1.    Make sure you don’t abuse your relationships with reporters.
2.    Make sure your clients can give you what they’re saying – or don’t offer it!

Communication methods – phone vs. email vs. snail mail?

Both Kate and Scott agreed – email is absolutely better than phone calls.   (Scott even shared that he use email for interviews to make it easier.)  Why you ask?

Kate: To me emails are like IMs. I transitioned to email a long time ago and you’re interrupting my flow when I have to pause to answer the phone.  (And voice mails for pitching, forget it!) It also makes it much easier for me because everything I do has to get forwarded and approved by my editor, so having it in email saves me TONS of time.

Scott: It depends on the reporter, totally depends on what they want.  But for the most part, everyone’s on their Blackberry or at their inbox and it’s just easier.

Pitching tips:

•    Start the dialogue via email. Especially if I’ve never talked to you before – include the 5 Ws and H, and know your window. If there’s a timeframe associated with what you’re pitching (for example a new TV show airing next week) put that in the subject line.
•    If we don’t respond to your email it doesn’t necessarily mean we deleted it or we’re not interested.  An email reminding me is totally appropriate.  A follow up email is totally better than a phone call when I’m on deadline or chasing another story.
•    KISS! Keep it short and simple! Make sure the information’s accurate and straight-forward.  (One idea: pitch me like it’s Twitter; keep it to 140 characters.)
•    Know your audience. Know the outlet and the journalist you’re pitching. Everyone’s on some social network, so do your homework and make sure you’re sending the information that’s the right fit for the right outlet. (For example, don’t send decoupage tips to Surfer Magazine.)
•    Make your relationship as productive as possible.  You can still be a person and be personable to build the relationship.  (A genuine complement on a reporters’ previous article can always be a good start.)
•    Let them say no. Don’t make it hard or painful for them to turn you down. Be gracious with their time.
Transitioning into a resource.

With every journalist it’s different. But you can always let us know what clients you’re working on and what you could potentially offer. The ask may not come next week – or next month even, but if we had a good working relationship with you, chances are we’ll come back when there’s an opportunity to do so.

Wanna learn more about pitching media?

YP recomends you check out the Bad Pitch Blog and other resources in the blogroll.

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Twitter debate (in short): network or net waste

Here’s an interesting article from the Boston Globe, titled “So little space, so much ado.” The article debates the best uses for Twitter. Although focusing on the Boston area, it’s an interesting read about who is on Twitter and what they’re Tweeting about.

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April Meeting This Wed 4/22!!

Sorry for the delayed notice!  Below are the details for April YP Meeting THIS WEEK, Weds. 4/22!!

When advancing in public relations, nothing is more valuable than a core library of trusted media contacts. During these difficult times, editorial relationships define a practitioners capacity to secure positive coverage and become key differentiators when competing against others for highly contested positions.

Join the PRSA Young Professionals as we welcome members of the regions most influential sources during a round table discussion surrounding pitching tips, preferred communication methods and tailoring stories to fit certain interests.

Panelists include representatives from Wired Magazine, Tribune Media Service, Westwood One Radio and online TV site,

When: Wednesday, April 22, 2009 from 6:45 – 8:15 p.m.

Where: Beverly Hills Library – South Meeting Room (444 N. Rexford Dr., Beverly Hills, CA, 90210)

RSVP on Facebook by searching for “April Meeting: Meet the Media”

Parking: Available adjacent to the library at 450 N. Rexford Drive. First two hours are free, then 75 cents per half hour.

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Gen Y is better than everyone else at marketing themselves

Check out this post from Penelope Trunk’s Brazen Careerist blog.  This is a guest post from Dan Schawbel. He is 25 years old and already, The New York Times has called him a “personal branding guru.”  Dan’s book is Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success, and it just came out today.

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Young Professional Profile #3

Andrea NowackMeet Andrea Nowack:

Looking for an internship or mentor in LA?  Chances are, Andrea has the answer.  Andrea Nowack is YP’s collegiate outreach chair and is in charge of heading up our mentorship program (coming soon!) and internship guide (see the tabs above).

Born and raised in Redondo Beach, CA, but uprooted to Oregon when she was 13, this savvy online-socialite finally decided to return to her Los Angeles roots and currently works for Zeno Group’s Digital Lifestyle team in Santa Monica.  She was one of the first members of Facebook (back in the days when it was only open to college students); therefore, she is a self-proclaimed social media expert.  She has extensive experience in the consumer technology, Web 2.0 and online media spaces and works with clients such as Ustream, Discovery Channel, HowStuffWorks, Mother Nature Network, and Pizza Hut.  Andrea also co-hosts The Social 7, a weekly videocast highlighting the top 7 stories in social media and marketing, alongside digital strategists Nick Mendoza and Alex Miller.

Prior to joining Zeno Group in 2008, Andrea performed Analyst Relations for the Microsoft Online Services Business (MSN, Live Search, and Windows Live) at Waggener Edstrom Worldwide. She graduated from the University of Oregon where she earned degrees in Public Relations and Documentary Production, as well as minors in Business Administration and Political Science.

Aside from work, Andrea enjoys reading, snowboarding, soccer, Lost (not being lost; the TV show), surfing, frequent trips to In-and-Out, and hiking… almost as much as she enjoys tweeting about them. Aside from work and the three other places she blogs, her current labor of love is a board sports Web site for women – Westbound Boarder, LLC – where she and her co-founder, Danielle, discuss all things snow, surf, and skate.  Her life-long aspiration is to live to see the day person to person relationships no longer exist, with social media allowing people to exist solely online (scary we know).

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New LA PR Jobs blog

This new Los Angeles PR jobs blog is a great resource for tips and tricks of the trade, as well as open positions at agencies in the LA area:

Extremely interesting and helpful is the recent post “I wish that I knew what I know now when I was younger.”

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Tips to brand yourself online

Check this out! More than 50 tips to branding yourself online from JobMob.


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