The HARO Limelight Series (HLS)- Kate Hennessy, 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 Kate Hennessy, a journalist and radio show host.
1. What beats/topics do you normally write about? Why do these particular subjects interest you?
I host a weekly hour long radio show where I interview some amazing people, authors and celebrities. We talk about life, cancer, losing family friends, business’s and careers and how they have overcome extreme adversities in their life to get to the place they are now. I also do “fun” shows like having some intuitive people like mediums, psychics etc., come on and do their thing when people call in.
2. What is your favorite part about your job?
The excitement of every single show and meeting some of the most creative and inspiring people that let me into their life and share their secrets to leading a better life.
3. What is your least favorite part about your job?
I can’t think of many things I don’t like about hosting this show. Perhaps wishing I had asked a question that I didn’t or sometimes feeling I didn’t get as much out of the guest that I could have. The prep work can be stressful too but it is all part of this type of media.
4. What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in your career and how did you overcome it?
There are a lot of people out there who host great shows and give great interviews, so it’s always a challenge to stay on top of your game. To try and give your listeners what they want so they stay somewhat loyal. You must be confident, go after the guests you don’t think you can get and feel that you are worth every moment someone speaks to you and someone listens.
5. How has the journalism field changed since you first started and what are you doing to adapt?
I started in print journalism over 30 years ago and then went back to school for Broadcast journalism, which I did not pursue until a few years ago. I wrote and worked for newspapers and then owned my own newspaper for six years. The biggest challenge for a journalist is making a living. When I started 30 years ago staff were hired to work and write for newspapers and magazines. For the most part now, it’s pieced out work so you have to do a lot of writing, for a lot of venues, to make a career. However, writing is a passion so if it’s in you then you can make it work. It takes a lot of work and support.
6. When did you first learn of HARO and how has it changed your job?
I was interviewing a guest and after the show we were talking about finding people to call in for a specific topic. She told me to look up HARO and I did. All of a sudden I had a show that people were lighting up the switchboard to talk to the guest! It made the show looked incredibly popular and then it really was!
7. Do you have any pet peeves when it comes to PR professionals pitching you a story?
I don’t really have pet peeves, that would be petty as I get such great response. Perhaps it might be if someone agrees to call in and they don’t. Or if my agent specifically asks for a celebrity to tell their story and, well, it really isn’t what we would determine as a “celebrity”. It can make it awkward to let them know it’s not what we are looking for.
8. What tips or pointers would you offer to PR professionals looking to pitch you a story?
Be honest as to what you are pitching and for heavens sake give me more than two words. I had a response awhile back with regard to asking for a celebrity to tell their story. The “celebrity” emailed back with three words “I’ll do it” and then his name. They were asked to elaborate and he sent his bio. At that time it was decided that if he wasn’t willing to chat a little via email he might very well be a nightmare to interview.
9. Does social media play a role in your job? If so, how big of a role?
It plays a HUGE role in the success of my show! I use Twitter and Facebook every time a show is on air, is going on air soon, or has already played!
10. Where can people find you in the social media universe? Do you welcome people pitching you via social media?
I not only welcome people pitching me in the following venues, I strongly appreciate it:
- Website: www.getfocusedradio.com
- Radio Website: www.transformationtalkradio.com or tune into WBLQ 1230 AM
- Our Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/GetFocusedRadio?sk=messages_inbox
11. What advice would you give someone who is looking to get started in the journalism field?
Just do it! Write something, anything, send it to venues you think it would work in. Keep in mind, out with the old and in with the new, embrace the social media universe. You can’t fight it, so use it! You are your greatest promoter, so market yourself like some amazing product you have discovered and want to share with the universe! The written word is such a strong tool, use it wisely, make your words count, and try to make a difference.
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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