The HARO Limelight Series (HLS)- Michelle Talsma Everson, 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 Michelle Talsma Everson, the Associate Editor of Go Gilbert! Magazine and writer for Scottsdale Health and So Scottsdale! magazines.
1. What beats/topics do you normally write about?
My main job is as the Associate Editor of Go Gilbert! Magazine, which covers the East Valley cities of Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, etc. in Arizona. We cover mostly local community topics. I also write for Scottsdale Health and So Scottsdale! magazines that cover health, lifestyle, and beauty topics for the Scottsdale/Paradise Valley areas of Arizona. In addition, I freelance for other publications in the Phoenix metro area usually in the topics of health, wellness, environment, and community features. My favorite things to cover usually involve local community topics, product features, and health-related topics.
2. Why do these particular subjects interest you?
I love these subjects because I get to tell someone’s story, learn more about cool and new products, and make a difference/spread awareness about health topics.
3. What is your favorite part about your job?
I am a mom to an active 3-year-old boy and I am lucky to work from home, so a flexible schedule is a big perk. Plus, I’ve had a wide array of experiences and have met fascinating people.
4. What is your least favorite part about your job?
Not being able to fit in a story somewhere because of timing or it just doesn’t fit at that particular time and/or publication.
5. What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in your career and how did you overcome it?
Time management—I’m still working on that! I thought I could be “super mom” and work, plus have my son at home full-time. However, he’s now in daycare a couple of days a week, so I can have time to focus and work.
6. How has the journalism field changed since you first started writing and what are you doing to adapt?
I am relatively new to the field. I graduated college in 2008, but even over those short 5 years, social media and the lack of “traditional” journalism jobs have become prevalent. I have just embraced the changes—social media and website writing can enhance the field and are a good way to connect with readers. As an independent communications professional, I am open to a lot more than just print.
7. When did you first learn of HARO and how has it changed your job?
I learned about it from a colleague. It’s changed how I do my product-based pieces, mostly. I usually post an inquiry and BAM—product pitches galore! I do product features on a regular basis for Scottsdale Health and from time-to-time for Go Gilbert!. They usually focus around a central theme (latest cameras, latest fitness apps, etc.). Many of the products that I have written about have been from HARO pitches.
8. Do you have any pet peeves when it comes to PR professionals pitching you a story?
When the pitch has nothing to do with the HARO post. For example, I use HARO mainly for product spreads and I will now and then get offers to interview experts when I’m really just looking for products. Or the products are unrelated.
9. What tips or pointers would you offer to PR professionals looking to pitch you a story?
If it’s for one of my product features, please make sure your pitch fits the inquiry. If it’s for Go Gilbert!, the pitch needs to be local to the coverage area.
10. Does social media play a role in your job? If so, how big of a role?
Social media does not play a huge role, but I do try to update the magazines’ Facebook pages with current events, especially ones that we couldn’t fit into print.
11. Where can people find you in the social media universe? Do you welcome people pitching you via social media?
On Twitter I’m @mntnewsgurl and on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/michelleteverson/. I’d be easier to reach on LinkedIn than Twitter.
12. What advice would you give someone who is looking to get started in the journalism field?
Be flexible. The jobs for traditional print reporters are few and far between, but the same skill set can be used in marketing, public relations, and other communication fields. If you are still in school, do a lot of internships –even if they’re unpaid!—and maybe have a “back up plan” or added majors/minors. I also have a degree and background in public relations.
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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