The HARO Limelight Series (HLS)- Elaine Masters, Reporter
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 Elaine Masters, a dedicated nomad, travel writer, blogger, and podcaster.
1. What beats/topics do you normally write about? Why do these particular subjects interest you?
I write about travel and how to do it well. The focus is primarily boomer, women and family trips, scuba diving and soft adventure. As a life-long wanderer, I encourage travel in all its permutations as part of my mission to foster wonder and respect for our planet.
2. What is your favorite part about your job?
Visiting new places, cultures, and people.
3. What is your least favorite part about your job?
Jet lag, too often subsisting on expensive processed food in transit, and waiting in long lines.
4. What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in your career and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenges are the diminished respect and fewer well-paid outlets for dedicated writers.
5. How has the journalism field changed since you first started writing and what are you doing to adapt?
With fewer publications on newsstands, gutted travel sections in papers and the expectation of free content, as well as pictures, in trade for a byline, it’s increasingly difficult to make a living from writing. Nothing new there, so I self-publish, host local travel events such as Meet-Plan-Go, Travel Massive and my own Travel Well meetups. I also write content for other sites and travel professionals and I’m forming alliances with travel agents to escort small groups on international and local cultural adventures.
6. When did you first learn of HARO and how has it changed your job?
I started using HARO about five years ago when my first book was published on the advice of the president of PWSD, Karla Olsen. The professional contacts were a great help in marketing my books and CD. Now, as I’m focused on travel writing and have been podcasting in earnest, HARO continues to give me access to great stories and content.
7. Do you have any pet peeves when it comes to PR professionals pitching you a story?
I write about travel. It’s pretty simple. If they can pitch in any way related to that, I’m game. My biggest peeve is getting product placement and off-topic pitches that were obviously sent to blind lists. I also resent press releases being sent with the subject line: “Based on our previous conversation” when that’s the first contact!
8. What tips or pointers would you offer to PR professionals looking to pitch you a story?
Keep it to my niche. There’s no one-size-fits-all pitch. I really don’t appreciate an inbox overflowing with inappropriate offers.
9. Does social media play a role in your job? If so, how big of a role?
It has become increasingly important and more difficult to keep a vital presence in social media. I’m constantly juggling writing deadlines, pitching stories and staying involved with Facebook and Twitter, while longing to get going on Pinterest and Vine.
10. Where can people find you in the social media universe? Do you welcome people pitching you via social media?
Since I’m sporadically focused on social media, it’s best to pitch me via email. Facebook messages reach me, but may be slow.
11. What advice would you give someone who is looking to get started in the journalism field?
Approach it as a business first and an art second, then be persistent and unafraid to pivot.
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.
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