Mike Guy – Editor in Chief, TheFix.com
All good stories have the same components – original angle, quality content and good writing style. With that in mind, Mike Guy is sure to keep TheFix.com, a website focusing on addiction and recovery, a leading online source in its niche market.
Guy was promoted to editor in chief of the site in July 2012 after serving as its editorial director for less than a year. As a writer and editor, he has also worked with some of the biggest names in the publishing industry including Rolling Stone, Details, Hemispheres, Men’s Journal and Playboy.
“This is my first website job, but I think it’s very different from the quiet pace of a monthly,” Guy said. “Things tend to make a lot more sense on a website. The deadlines make sense and everything is immediate. On a certain level it makes reporting easier, but it also makes original reporting a little more difficult.”
As editor in chief, Guy’s responsibility is to establish [The Fix’s] voice, which he called edgier than any other publication that covers addiction and recovery. The site covers a varied selection of topics within the sector and also serves as a go-to source for the many affected by this issue, which includes news stories on the drug war, culture and celebrity.
“There’s a lot of ground to cover…we’ve got sex addiction, gambling addiction, pills, street drugs, alcoholism, families, recovery, the rehab review,” Guy said. “The terrain is changing a lot in the States and everything is moving at a really fast rate. The cocaine use is down, heroin is going up. The real killer now is legally prescribed pills, so what we cover is changing every day.”
The purpose of the site is not to counsel addicts and those in recovery. However the website does have staff members with knowledge and experience who provide accurate and effective information. This includes The Fix’s co-founder and editor at large, Joe Schrank, who is a treatment specialist and owner of Loft 107, a facility in Brooklyn, N.Y. Also, Melanie Haber, director of helpline services, who has a background in psychiatric care.
“Between the two of them, they go pretty deep when it comes to knowing what we’re talking about. They are the ones who talk directly to a family member or the actual person in trouble and get a sense of what their needs are,” Guy said.
Perhaps one of the more prominent purposes of The Fix is to dispel misconceptions about the face of addiction. An ongoing challenge is to change society’s assumptions about who addicts are and who they are not.
“It’s not about junkies on benches as much as it used to be,” he said. “It’s more of people’s grandparents and parents. It’s middle-class and suburban. That’s where the U.S. is seeing the real growth in the epidemic.”
A major component of the site is the Rehab Reviews section that is described as a Zagat-style influenced source. This online guide to nationwide treatment centers provides reviews given by those with firsthand experiences (i.e. former patients, facilities) to get the most accurate sense of what to expect and how to choose a facility that is right for the patient. Reviews cover high points of interest such as the culture, food, accommodations, treatment programs and “is the backbone for our treatment helpline.”
Guy takes prides in the site and its ability to help addicts, and those who care about them, effectively navigate an approach to recovery. “It’s a pretty big operation, from the helpline all the way back to our daily blog and features. We’re doing seven features a week, and ten reported blog items a day.”
Since The Fix is an online-only publication, it is inevitable that Guy has thoughts on the evolution of media. He expressed the conundrum of easier reporting to be a double-edged sword of digital journalism. Guy worries that laziness has overcome “real gumshoe reporting” with the temptation to “turn every story into a Wikipedia page entry.”
To keep original reporting alive, Guy intends to build on the site’s uniqueness and audience engagement.
“I think that one of the things that we emphasize, especially on our blogs, is to do as much original reporting as we can over the course of the day as opposed to aggregation. I think that’s one of the things [The Fix] is going to find value in. I think it makes for good content and a valuable website.”
PR professionals are asked to contact the site through e-mail for story ideas and news tips. Guy stressed that original information is key and to avoid sending information that has likely been seen.
“Don’t just go through Google Alerts because 99 times out of 100, we get the same thing. Try to give an original angle on something.”
Guy also appreciates when people have a solid understanding of The Fix and asks that those who reach out “please read the site.”
Follow Guy on Twitter at @mrmikeguy.
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