Our purpose with this series is to educate readers on how to more effectively pitch reporters and garner media hits. We hope you find this series useful. Please leave any comments or questions below!
In this edition of the HLS, we interviewed Adam Torkildson, a writer for Forbes.com and SocialMediaToday.com.
1. What beats/topics do you normally write about? Why do these particular subjects interest you?
I write about how technology, perceptions, marketing, and human nature interact to achieve interesting and sometimes amazing results for individuals and companies. For instance, I wrote a piece recently about how fashion affects a person’s income. Human nature and psychology play a big part in how we are perceived and how we portray ourselves. I love studying how those things interact with each other.
2. What is your favorite part about your job?
I love how writing a good story teaches me things and connects me to people I would never have had the pleasure of knowing.
3. What is your least favorite part about your job?
My least favorite part of the job is trying to articulate to an editor or even a source for that matter, what it is I’m trying to uncover in my story. Many times editors have to fulfill certain publishing guidelines, and sources just want to tell you their side of things. I like trying to uncover the hidden, not so often discussed, nuances of life. Many times that inside info is hard to get from people that are just trying to do their job.
4. What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in your career and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge I have faced is actually unfolding right now, and based on confidentiality agreements I’ve signed, I can’t say anymore than that until after next week.
5. How has the journalism field changed since you first started writing and what are you doing to adapt?
I believe that citizen journalists are going to be and have gotten to be more and more powerful. Breaking news, writing in depth reports, and becoming trusted sources of info. That’s nothing new, but it means there’s a never ending supply of information. Who is going to verify it? I think news verification is where we’re headed, and I’m not sure how that’s going to happen honestly.
6. When did you first learn of HARO and how has it changed your job?
I first learned of HARO right out of SEO.com about 3 years ago. I love not having to track down sources for much of anything now. Sometimes I’ll be writing a story that doesn’t get a response, but that rarely happens nowadays.
7. Do you have any pet peeves when it comes to PR professionals pitching you a story?
Having a background in PR makes me much more sympathetic than many other journalists. However, the tried and true applies to me as well: off topic pitches are a waste of everyone’s time.
8. What tips or pointers would you offer to PR professionals looking to pitch you a story?
If you or your client have any clout as far as sharing a particular article with a wide audience after it’s been written, I’ll probably be more likely to listen to your pitch and publish you.
9. Does social media play a role in your job? If so, how big of a role?
A very big role. The PR person wants any article to ‘go viral’ and so do I. That way everyone wins.
10. Where can people find you in the social media universe? (Twitter handle, LinkedIn, etc) Do you welcome people pitching you via social media?
11. What advice would you give someone who is looking to get started in the journalism field?
Read a lot. You’ll get ideas for stories. Also start contributing content to any content syndication services that allow guest authors. That’s a great way to get yourself some credibility (Like voices.yahoo.com)
If you’d like to be featured in the HARO Limelight series as a member of the media or a source, email: laura(at)helpareporter(dot)com.