Firstly, tell us a bit about your role and the team.
I'm the Executive Editor of Crime and Weird News at the Huffington Post. Those are two of the website's most heavily trafficked verticals. Together, they account for more than 30 million monthly visits.
I manage 13 people. Eight staffers and one intern in New York City, who work from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. One reporter works from his home in Pennsylvania, and three more work from California. Two West Coast staffers work noon to 8 p.m. ET. Another works 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. ET. The overnight person files to verticals across the Huffington Post. The rest focus on Crime and Weird News.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I arrive at 7:30 a.m. most days. We're producing stories before 8. Between 9 to 11 tends to be the busiest hours of the day. The afternoons alternate between editing and meetings. At 4:30, we usually drink a shot of bourbon and pass off to the West Coast team.
What sort of content are you keen to feature?
We want weird, strange stories!
What do you wish you were covering more of?
We like any crime or offbeat story that gets people talking.
How can PRs help with content?
Don't pitch us crap. If you send me more than one pitch that is off topic, you will be sent to my spam list. If you put me on some sort of generic pitch list, I will show off my vocabulary of naughty words. If I get the sense that you haven't read my site before pitching me, I will make you cry, especially if you cold call me. Having said that, many of the people I call friends are in PR. Strangely, your profession is a collection of the absolute dumbest and smartest people on earth.
How and when is the best way for PRs to contact you and the team?
After 11 a.m., unless you really have something you know I want. If you violate this, I will blacklist you.
What should PRs bear in mind when pitching in story ideas?
The chances are, I'm going to say no. If you waste my time, I will make you pay.
Do you think the relationship between journalists and PRs has changed from when you first started you career? If so, in which way?
I don't read press releases. I don't know one reporter who reads press releases. I generally don't read mass emails. I once did. The publicists I work with are the ones who have forged relationships with me.
Here's how they have done that:
- The've read what I've written and run on my page, and they pitch me accordingly.
- They help me, even on stories that have nothing to do with their clients.
Gorkana will be hosting a media briefing with The Huffington Post on June 4, 2014. Click here to RSVP.