Peter Kafka, senior editor at AllThingsD, has been covering the technology beat since 1997. The NYC-based reporter (whose first job out of college was at the Minnesota Real Estate Journal) has experienced first-hand how online journalism and social media has brought about the 24/7 news cycle – dramatically reshaping journalism in the process. He was kind enough to chat with me about covering technology in 2013.
Q. How has tech journalism changed since you started on the beat in 1997?
A. The tight answer is that the pace is much faster…[Back then] people were covering the news in print magazines. That’s the really obvious change. Now it’s all online, on your phone – the news cycle is nearly 24/7.
As we race into Thanksgiving for a momentary pause before the end-of-year crunch, we want to take a moment to thank our wide and supportive InkHouse community. We’ve had another year of tremendous growth, which has landed us in bigger office space that we’re now calling home. We are so grateful for the clients who trust us and partner with us to tell their amazing stories. Without them, of course, there would be no InkHouse.
Meg and I are also so grateful for our amazing InkHouse family who impress us with their high standards, inspire us through their personal pursuits, remind us of the importance of community amid hardship, and entertain us with their eternally good humor. As I’ve done for the past three years, I asked them to share their lists of gratitude, which follow in no particular order. I usually edit blog posts down, but I could not find too many words worthy of the delete key.
Over the past few years, Jim Roberts’ (@nycjim) voice is one I have relied upon during all types of news cycles. His ability to curate the most trustworthy sources for the most important stories has been invaluable for news as varied as the Facebook IPO, Hurricane Sandy and the Boston Marathon Bombings.
I started following Jim when he was assistant managing editor at The New York Times and then became executive editor of Reuters Digital. Now he joins Mashable as executive editor and chief content officer (read his open letter for more details). He was generous enough to give me some time to ask him about the shape of today’s media landscape and his plans for Mashable. I’ve summarized the highlights of our discussion below.
There are many rules that writers must understand and practice to perfectly punctuate their prose.
For news writers and public relations professionals, mastering every single entry in the nearly 500-page Associated Press Stylebook – the say-all of journalistic style – isn’t something achieved overnight. It takes multiple red-ink markings – and perhaps lots of nagging from editors, even at The New York Times – for rules to become common knowledge.
Here are seven hard-to-remember AP style rules that send writers to their guides for a quick refresher:
Imagine this: You have finally overcome the ominous blinking cursor and have poured your heart and soul into the most fantastic blog post that the world has ever seen. Shakespeare? He has nothing on you. Bill Gates? Who is that guy? This is the post that will turn the tide. It’ll sell products and get you that promotion you’ve always wanted. You sit back, breathe a sigh of relief, hit the publish button and wait for the glory to stream in.
However, nobody reads your masterpiece.
Today, at the MassTLC unConference in Boston, I was part of a media and press relations clinic that columnist Scott Kirsner led, along with Jen Reddy, SVP of Global Marketing for Communispace; Bernd Leger, Vice President of Marketing at Localytics; and Adam Zand, PR manager at TomTom.
The session, aimed at helping companies learn how to raise their visibility, became a Shark Tank-style pitch fest where founders stood up and explained why someone should want to cover them. First, it should be said, there were some great business ideas in that room at the Hynes Convention Center: crowd-sourcing for new video games; turning a photo of white board notes into a Google doc; and a solution to allow employees who may be dispersed to all sign good-bye cards for colleagues who are moving on.
Media relations is an evolving art form – it changes every single day as the media landscape does. The needs of reporters change, as do the approaches in which we connect with them. Rapid response is one of my favorite things to do with a client. You can be sure that when I get wind of breaking news, I will be running over to Lisa Mokaba’s desk to high five and iron out our plan of attack. From there, I remind myself to “stop what you’re doing and listen.” Yes, I picture Ron Burgundy drop his robe and announce he was “handed an urgent and horrifying news story” that turned out to be an epic cannonball in the movie Anchorman.
Agreeing to an interview with a reporter can be a pretty terrifying prospect. Making casual conversation is one thing, but making casual conversation with someone writing down everything you say and publishing it? If your first thought is “yikes,” you’re not alone. The truth is that being interviewed by a reporter doesn’t have to be all that scary. Reporters are just trying to do their jobs. Most typically, they’re speaking to you because you’re an expert on something. They’re genuinely interested in what you have to say!
There are some general guidelines. It’s often helpful to treat interviews like conversations (albeit ones that are being recorded). Remember to be friendly and polite – reporters are humans, after all. They’re often busy and stressed so a little bit of “Hi, I enjoy reading your work” never hurts.