Podcast: Zach Dundas: Portland Monthly Magazine

Podcast: Zach Dundas: Portland Monthly Magazine

The Man Behind the Machine that is Portland Monthly

“We don’t expect PR people to read our minds,” Zach Dundas, Editor in Chief of Portland Monthly, assures us during the course of our interview on PR Talk. From his corner office overlooking the city, we covered his role as the head of editorial for Portland’s beloved monthly magazine, how he’s written two books, and his insight for PR people.

As Editor in Chief, Zach is responsible for setting the overarching direction of the magazine and ensuring that the editorial team follows suit. Yet many of the writers on Zach’s team also hold the Editor title, empowering them to make editor-like decisions within their reporting and writing functions. This frees Zach up to ponder how Portland Monthly can morph along with the city’s ever-changing scene and priorities—a task that becomes more challenging as Portland grows. Zach is quick to add that he still likes to get his hands dirty with frequent article writing and reporting.

As we delve into the two books Zach’s written — “The Renegade Sportsman” and “The Great Detective— I uncover that Zach was in the throws of welcoming his second child to the world and had been recently promoted to Editor in Chief during the process of writing his last book. However, deadlines from his publisher and editor helped him see the project through.

“Deadlines are one of the secrets to creativity. Having to get something done is why a lot of things get done in the world,” Zach said. “What we do [at Portland Monthly] is driven by a deadline cycle. An under-rated factor in the creative industry is that there is a machine behind what people are creating.”

 

When to Pitch Portland Monthly

Speaking of deadlines, one of the hardest things to wrap my head around when doing long-lead PR is to think so far in advance. “If you want to see a story in print, it’s not out of the question to pitch something six months out,” Zach said. “But we can turn something around for the website in a day-ish.”

It’s always better to play it safe but new clients and projects don’t have these strict deadlines ingrained into their psyche like we PR people do. So if you can get in front of the team three to four months in advance of when the issue would publish, you’ll be OK.

If you’re really under the gun with a tight deadline you may be able to sneak something in after that time. Let’s take the June issue for example:

  • It confusingly hits the stands in late May (a week or so before the month starts)
  • It goes to the printer early May
  • The details within the stories are conceived and written in April
  • The drop-dead appears to be 6 weeks ahead but I’ve never been known for my computing skills. You do the math.

Keep in mind that the topical ideas for the entire year are mapped out 12 months or more ahead. See this blog post on Editorial Calendars for more insight.

 

How to Pitch Portland Monthly

Zach comforts us that Portland Monthly is always looking for stories. Pitching the right editor is part of the battle and you can’t uncover this by glancing over the masthead. You’ll need to pay attention to the magazine and web content to learn what each editor is covering. “The more closely you can tailor your pitch to each editor’s coverage focus, the better,” he says.

The most successful PR people have a “knack for telling the stories themselves and put thought into what they’re pulling together. The best pitches have elements of story and character,” Zach says.

This comment has me thinking about all the journalists we’ve interviewed on PR Talk who’ve been harping after us to shorten our pitches. “Concision is great but give us a sense of what the story is,” Zach says.

The point that PR people must customize, customize, customize has been driven home again. Not only are we tailoring our outreach efforts for each individual contact and outlet, we must also match our materials to how the medium delivers its news. A TV station that produces quick bites of news isn’t going to be able to digest a long pitch. Whereas a publication embarking on in-depth, long-form coverage might have the stamina for something meatier.

 

What to Pitch Portland Monthly 

You’ll have to pick up a copy of the magazine, peruse the digital content and sign up for a newsletter to discover this for yourself! But if you are reading this in late Spring 2018, when this episode was released, Zach advises that it’s not too early to start talking about next fall and winter.

About the guest: Zach Dundas

Zach Dundas grew up in Montana, published ‘zines, played in bands, and made his start in journalism at the Missoula Independent. After working as an editor and reporter for Portland’s Willamette Week from 1999 to 2005, he wrote for Monocle, Maxim, Good Magazine, and others. His first book, The Renegade Sportsman, was published by Riverhead Books in 2007, followed by The Great Detective in 2015. He is now editor-in-chief of Portland Monthly and a correspondent for Monocle.

Connect and follow Zach on social media:

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

PR Talk is sponsored by monday

In such a fast-paced, multi-faceted work environment, it can be tough to stay on top of everything. monday is the collaboration tool trusted by businesses of all kinds to help cut down the clutter and streamline productivity. Learn more at monday.com and signup for a free trial. You’ll see in no time why so many teams around the world are choosing monday for their project management needs.

PR Talk listeners can use the coupon code BetterExecute for a 15% discount.

Minicast: Thought Leadership & Positioning Credit Union Brains

Minicast: Thought Leadership & Positioning Credit Union Brains

A 5-Point-Guide to Maximizing the “Brains” at Your Disposal

There are many articles about how to become a thought leader. But if you’re in credit union marketing or PR, you need to know how to position one of the many “brains” within your organization as a thought leader. Sorry folks, not too many people want to hear from marketers, especially not the general public. Current and potential credit union customers want to know about financial and economic matters—things affecting their own bottom lines—subjects that a marketing person couldn’t, wouldn’t nor shouldn’t talk about.

Before we get into how to find and utilize these experts, let’s review the types of experts credit union marketers should be hunting down. They can be discovered among executive leadership teams, staffs and boards.

Types of credit union thought leaders:

  • Small business financing.
  • Mortgage lending.
  • Car loans.
  • Personal finance.
  • Family finance (getting kids to invest).
  • Diversity experts to help include under-represented communities, such as loans for women business owners or mortgages for minorities.
  • Your credit union’s niche area, such as teachers for credit unions focusing on teachers, veterans for credit unions focusing on veterans, or community ambassadors for credit unions focusing on a specific community.
  • How general economics affects all of the above

 

Veracity’s 5-Point-Guide to Maximizing the “Brains” at Your Disposal

 

1. Hone your “Expert-Dar.”

Learn how to sniff out the people you should be positioning as experts. The main way to do this is to listen with an open mind. You never know who your expert might be. With so many topics to talk about, it’s more important than ever to keep your ear to the ground. Get to know people who can feed you the information you need by attending events, interacting with people, asking questions, and again listening with an open mind.

 

2. Build a rapport.

Once you’ve selected your experts make them your best friends. At the very least get comfortable talking with them so you can call them in a pinch. Try the following things to turn your “brain” into an approachable bestie:

  • Talk to them at events and meetings.
  • Take them to coffee, lunch or happy hour.
  • Listen to them speak in seminars, classes and meetings. Talk to them about what they’ve said. Everyone needs a friendly face in the front row.
  • Sign up to volunteer in their group if your credit union partakes in volunteering efforts.
  • Simply ask to “pick their brain” as frequently as comfortable.

When you’re doing any of the above items, don’t talk at them, let them do most of the talking and listen intently. Imagine the kinds of stories you could pitch or articles you could place with the information they’re bestowing upon you.

 

3. Write it down!

Once you get them going, write down everything they say! Oftentimes when experts are rambling, they’re “giving” us the press release, article, media pitch, whatever! For this reason, I love it when my clients talk at me. We type down everything they say and use it later for a piece.

Be prepared to write things down constantly. For example, if you just need some quick info from your CEO but she’s in a chatty mood, let the conversation flow and write it all down because you can use the extraneous information for something else later.

Why talk at all if experts could just type out answers to your questions? Remember that you have the marketer’s insight and your expert does not. Important points that your expert quickly glosses over can be honed in on during conversation. I understand that time is limited so you’ll have to use your best judgment on whether or not to talk about each opportunity. After doing this for awhile, hopefully you will have a lot of copy you can re-use. Even more important, hopefully you’ll be getting opportunity after opportunity and you’ll all be so busy you just can’t talk about everything!

 

4. Convert your notes.

I understand if the idea of having to ghostwrite an article on behalf of your Board President sounds intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be if you’ve done the third step and are coming to the computer with a page full of notes. Don’t you see that you already have the piece? You just need to restructure it.

Time permitting, clean up the notes immediately while the conversation is fresh. Keep notes in paragraph format and organize by topic. As I run through my notes I’m thinking: “this is a good quote for a press release, this is some good fluff for a community-oriented blog post, and I’ll leave these economic stats in bullet point format because that will work better for an article or pitch.”  Also, do you see how a five sentence pitch is actually an article introduction? Copy is copy! USE IT ALL!

 

5. Place your brain.

Honestly now we are at PR 101. If you are fully accessing the “brains” at your disposal, this part shouldn’t be hard at all. However, newbies may not know where to begin. That’s okay! We all start somewhere. For the most part, thought leaders should be placed in the following ways:

  • Bylined articles in newspapers, financial journals or industry publications/websites. The topic should be of interest to your audience—they are not advertisements for your credit union or products. The only “plug” you’re getting is their name, company and title being listed as the author of that piece. Ideally, a headshot would run alongside the article. If you aren’t sure where to begin, tie into the seasons, national days/holidays, and editorial calendars.
  • Quoted as a source in articles. Most likely the first few quotes stem from proactive pitches you’ve sent and then ideally a relationship is formed and you’re also being called to have your “brain” participate in articles. If you aren’t sure where to begin, tie into the seasons, national days/holidays, and editorial calendars.
  • Speaking engagements at industry, financial or community events. The more often you’re placing bylined articles and quotes from your “brain,” the more clout your expert has, thus the easier this should be. Send pitches and proposals on behalf of your expert to event organizers.

I know I have glossed over #5 here but there is a wealth of information on our blog and podcast, PR Talk. Arm yourself with knowledge before embarking on your first thought-leadership campaign!

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

PR Talk is sponsored by monday

In such a fast-paced, multi-faceted work environment, it can be tough to stay on top of everything. monday is the collaboration tool trusted by businesses of all kinds to help cut down the clutter and streamline productivity. Learn more at monday.com and signup for a free trial. You’ll see in no time why so many teams around the world are choosing monday for their project management needs.

PR Talk listeners can use the coupon code BetterExecute for a 15% discount.

Podcast: Amy Rosenberg: Local PR with The Zip

Podcast: Amy Rosenberg: Local PR with The Zip

My Interview with Megan Hannay from ZipSprout

Due to technical errors (uh…recording in a coffee shop…note to self…never do this again..) my final Seattle jag episode has been stalled. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get it up and running for you because it was oh so good. With that said, I’m taking the opportunity to share a past interview featuring yours truly on the ZipSprout podcast.

Back in March 2017, I had the opportunity to unleash my inner local PR nerd with Megan Hannay, Co-Founder & CEO of ZipSprout and host of the community-based marketing agency’s podcast, The Zip. On Megan’s podcast, she asks me questions about how I got started in PR and how I launched Veracity in the middle of a recession. I had forgotten that we started the company during tumultuous times. I guess it’s like child birth, you forget the pain that you endure. I also share local public relations tips that can be used in any market while bringing home Veracity’s message that anyone can learn PR — especially of the community variety.

Megan helped me out this week by allowing me to rerun this episode. I wasn’t surprised to receive her speedy response because podcasters help each other out just like PR people do. I apologize for not having the new Seattle episode available, but if you’re not failing you’re not trying hard enough, right?

To read the full recap from this podcast, visit our write-up about it here.

About the Host of The Zip:

Megan Hannay is the CEO and CoFounder of ZipSprout. She developed the process and manages the team of Matchmakers. She also contributes planning and UX expertise to the ZipSprout app and oversees internal and external content strategy. You can read her column on local marketing in Marketing Land or hear her interviews with members of the local ecosystem in her weekly podcast, The Zip.

Connect and follow Megan on social:

 

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

PR Talk is sponsored by monday

In such a fast-paced, multi-faceted work environment, it can be tough to stay on top of everything. monday is the collaboration tool trusted by businesses of all kinds to help cut down the clutter and streamline productivity. Learn more at monday.com and signup for a free trial. You’ll see in no time why so many teams around the world are choosing monday for their project management needs.

PR Talk listeners can use the coupon code BetterExecute for a 15% discount.

Want Our Best Kept Secret for Tangible PR Results?

Want Our Best Kept Secret for Tangible PR Results?

Community Involvement!

Community work is tied into a lot of what we do at Veracity. In fact, one of our specialties is matching charities with businesses and unfolding the PR magic. We are lucky to have truly learned from the best when it comes to infusing community into daily work life. Our long term client, Windermere Stellar, has been doing this well before we came onto the scene.

“I am proud to say that our brokers are equally successful at real estate as they are raising money for worthy causes,” said Joan Allen, Windermere co-owner and co-chair of the local Windermere Foundation chapter. “Working to build better communities is a natural extension of what real estate professionals do on a daily basis.”

The real estate company recently ranked number one on the Portland Business Journal’s (PBJ) list of the area’s most philanthropically-inclined, large-sized companies. How they did this is the making of a PR person’s dream.

Do more than write checks

Don’t get me wrong, giving money to charity is a wonderful way to give back, but it’s got to be more than that. In fact, we believe that this idea of “more” is what fuels Windermere’s fundraising machine. Every realtor donates a portion of their commission from every sale to the Windermere Foundation, which serves local charities helping low income families. But they don’t just stop there, embarking on friendly competitions to determine which office can raise the most for charity. Full-time realtors spearhead everything from charitable golf tournaments and gala auctions to smaller but still meaningful actions like donating a dollar to the Foundation for every realtor that shows up at an open house.

Most of these efforts are highly PR’able. We can follow an event PR timeline with many of the public fundraisers:

  • Pre-event publicizing with calendar listings & press releases
  • During event publicity with inviting & hosting applicable press
  • After-event publicity to announce the fundraising results

Reach a wider, more engaged audience more often

Naysayers might wonder if our client is getting lost among all this charitable messaging. But remember that nobody cares about our clients as much as we PR people do, especially the press. And since it’s our job to make them care, we rely on the charitable messaging. Regardless, the press won’t want to write a piece solely focusing on the client and if they did that likely won’t happen again soon. Also, if your content surrounds the “self” of the organization and isn’t about how the organization affects others, your audience will stop listening. We as human beings don’t care about too much that doesn’t affect us directly. Since community issues affect everyone, community engagement is a goldmine for generating lasting PR results.

But we are writing checks!?! 

OK, let’s get real. It’s true that charitable donations are not only how businesses can make waves, but more importantly how they can help others. However, handing a check over to the charity isn’t necessarily a PR event, no matter how oversized it is and I don’t mean in dollar amount, I mean in literal size.

If your organization plans on writing a lot of checks, the first step is to have a re-usable check made of dry erase board prominently displaying your logo that can be used over and over again. With each donation, arrange to present the oversized check to a charity representative in front of key stakeholders that would most appreciate the gesture — such as your employees or board members.

SEMpdx Check to CCA

Have someone take a high-resolution (ish) photo of the check presentation and then send it to applicable publications with a recap of what happened. Your write-up doesn’t have to be a fancy press release. Simply type down how much was donated to whom with a brief description of the charity including their general mission, service demographic and location. You may also need to list the titles and names of the people in the photo if there aren’t too many people in it.

Repeat these actions every time you present a check, but be sure to customize the copy and the press list with each donation. If you are writing checks for coastal charities, let the coastal media know. However, if the next check you write is for a Tigard, Ore.-based charity, do not let the coastal papers know (unless your organization is based on the coast or highly affects coastal economies) and switch up your press audiences to focus on Tigard reporters. This thoughtful customization is basic and produces great results. Also, remember to use the images and copy for your social media.

Brody Borlaug Foundation Check from SEMpdx

Add a better visual element for better coverage

But your boss or board is breathing down your neck asking for a segment on the evening news or a front page story? Ok, my friend, this is where you need to do more than write the check. Bring in bodies to produce some sort of story-telling action to make a splash. Think in terms of visuals to get TV coverage or deeper storylines to get front-page worthy print or web articles.

An example of a TV-able action would be to volunteer for your beneficiary with a gaggle of your staff, board or clients. Incorporate physical action in to the volunteer work, such as raking leaves, painting or cleaning. Take photos and send them to TV stations before 2 p.m. on the event day if the TV stations do not come after you’ve invited them. Call to follow up on the photos. Be wary of incorporating children with the charity in your photos as you’d need to have their guardian sign a release form, which can be tricky for many service-oriented charities. Also run all your PR plans by your charity before incorporating them into the volunteer event at all.

How you could dig deeper to pull out a print or web feature story is to uncover some of the “why” around the charity. Is there a larger story that connects your organization to the charity? Was one of your board members or executives highly affected by the organization through receiving past services? Gently find out if they are comfortable going on the record and type a short synopsis that entices the press to uncover their own version of this story.

Many people are uncomfortable opening up in such a vulnerable way, or if you just don’t have a story like that to tell, then ensure your donation goes to something tangible, like a specific portion of a center or a certain program within the charity and create a story around that. For example, if your organization is donating funds to help build a new center, discover what portion of the center you could allot your donation to. The kitchen comes to mind with thoughts that go deeper than the financial donation into how the nourishment of food first fills stomachs, slowly making its way toward filling the emptiness of the soul.

Windermere Kitchen at Providence

It’s good for business & the community 

Sometimes when we suggest publicizing the charitable activities of our clients, they are hesitant as they do not do it for the publicity. Our response it that first of all it is good for business. You are getting your name in the community, providing monetary contributions, time and/or in-kind products or services. Those are all good things and if we get the word out, it can have a real impact on the bottom line as we highlighted in a case study with Clackamas Federal Credit Union and Habitat for Humanity.

The other bi-product of publicizing community work is that it leads to more philanthropy. When your partners, competitors and the public see how you are impacting your community, they want in. We have heard numerous times that charitable programs and activities of other organizations have inspired companies to start contributing to the community or caused them to step their game up.

The humble brag

And we sure are taking the roundabout, deflecting way of telling you that for the first time Veracity also make the list of PBJ’s Most Generous Corporate Philanthropists in Oregon & Southwest Washington – Small. While our donation was modest, we are one of the smallest of the small on the list. We are humbled to be on a list with such generous donors and inspire to follow in their footsteps, increasing our donation amount each year to slowly rise higher on the list. We learn from the best of them and practice what we preach in the evolution, growing and learning realm.

Corporate Philanthropy Letter-Veracity

Amy’s Book Reviews—On Writing, Racism & Working Freedom

Amy’s Book Reviews—On Writing, Racism & Working Freedom

I read every night, no matter what.

It doesn’t matter if it is a work of fiction, a business book, or a personal self-improvement compilation. The act of reading helps me fall asleep but it’s so much more.

On the deepest level a good book affects my dreams. My dream-thoughts are influenced and structured the way in which the writer structures their prose. I’m literally writing in my dreams—heavily copying my current read’s style, pulling out lines for press releases and emails in the most mundane sense but if I’m really lucky I’ll dream a line from out of nowhere in the early morning hours that could be used in a different sort of piece. If I’m even luckier, I’ll remember it. Twice the lines have jolted me awake and I had to write them down.

On a more fundamental level I believe that reading helps us become better writers. It is through reading that we learn how to structure a phrase, move to new ideas, deliver a quote. Since this is a business blog I will introduce a few of the business books that I’ve read but I can’t do that without mentioning the book I simply could not put down, finished last night.

 

Small Great Things - Amy's Book ReviewIt was one of those books that I am happy to be done with because it was consuming my thoughts, affecting my sleep, not only because I couldn’t put it down but because when I did I was wondering what would happen next, upset about the injustice of it all.The book was Small Great Things” by Jodi Picoult, said to be the most important novel she has ever written by the Washington Post. If you are a human living on this earth, you simply must read it. It explores racism in America through a fictional setting in which an African American nurse cares for the baby of white supremacists. What’s even more shocking than what happens next is getting a peek into the minds of each character, representing varying points-of-view in America, from the white supremacist to the middle class African American to the privileged white defense lawyer—who’s unrecognized, hidden racism is the most surprising of all. Something we need to examine deep within ourselves if we are also white and believe we are not racist.

 

Tim Ferriss' 4-Hour Workweek - Amy's Book ReviewAnd on that uplifting note, I’m moving on to the business books. I am loving Tim Ferriss’ “The 4-Hour Workweek.” I purchased it on my iPad and devoured it, realizing I needed to hold it in my hands so I could dissect it further. So I bought it again in hardback and am writing notes in the margins.

I’d already done half of the book’s suggestions years before reading it. And I mean that in the most elemental way. About 10 years ago I quit my desk job to work as a PR freelancer — grasping at the freedom Ferriss promises in his book. This grew into my company, Veracity.

While having my own business offers flexibly, I still must answer to bosses in the form of clients. This is where the more advanced part of Ferriss’ book comes in. His book is giving me the courage to move our business in a different direction—creating products we can sell in our sleep rather than offering services we manually fulfill. I’m currently following his book’s advice in launching a product which I’ve discovered is turning into a book about PR. Who says a book isn’t a product that you can sell in your sleep? Also to Ferriss’ point: the book brings credibility to any future products we might develop.

 

Steven King's On Writing - Amy's Book Review

The product may have merged into a book when I started reading Stephen King’s “On Writing,” which could give business owners a different kind of courage. The courage to take seemingly hard business endeavors one day at a time, as King advises we write. The schedule I put myself on to build the product has inadvertently turned into a writing schedule (one of King’s tips).

Another key point in King’s book is to forgo book outlines to maintain creativity and flow. I think the same could go with building a business. We work on the business one day at a time. We don’t always need to embark on setting down a huge plan, which could be intimidating as you can overthink yourself out of great ideas. I’ve learned how to spend that precious time actually making things happen for my business rather than plotting and planning.

Featured image courtesy of Clem Onojeghuo

Podcast: DJ Wilson, Leader of KGW Media Group, Right in Time for Women’s Equality Day

Podcast: DJ Wilson, Leader of KGW Media Group, Right in Time for Women’s Equality Day

DJ Wilson, Leader of KGW Media Group, Right in Time for Women’s Equality Day

DJ Wilson always wanted to run things. And run things she does as the head of KGW Media Group. We’re honored to bring you this episode — which we recorded in the middle of the craziness that the eclipse was supposed to bring to Oregon — in time for Women’s Equality Day this Saturday.

DJ truly is a “badass,” as Connor calls her, so there couldn’t be a better person to highlight in this capacity. This July marked DJ’s tenth year as President/General Manager of KGW Media Group, which represents more than just the revered NBC affiliate, KGW, in Portland. The publically-traded, multi-media platform runs multiple stations throughout the Pacific Northwest.

From Playing with Barbie to Studying Barbie’s Business Model

When asked how she took a sledge-hammer to the formidable glass ceiling, on the surface it appears that the ceiling didn’t really exist for her. But of course this is untrue since the ceiling exists for all women. We still make less on the dollar than men — facing barriers to leading organizations, opening companies or breaking into certain industries.

However, the ceiling didn’t keep DJ at bay. Never one to be labeled as shy, DJ put herself in front of many opportunities, holding on like a prize-winning rodeo rider. But she brings the way in which she was raised into this discussion about her rise to the top. She was fortunate to have parents who presented everything to her as if it was given that she’d have equal opportunity. Her Dad played a major role, telling her that in addition to playing with Barbie, she could study up on how Barbie became a business enterprise.

While she has worked in news her whole life, DJ “came up on the the sales and marketing side” because she “always wanted to run things,” she says.

Acting “As-If” and Participating in the World

DJ said she always put herself in situations where others could see her filling the role she wanted. This is a little more than just being in the right place at the right time. It’s about always being prepared to jump in whenever needed, ready to tackle whatever the day throws your way — whether that is through dress or a mental attitude stemming from an inherent belief in yourself.

She secured her first job in a Seattle elevator. Freshly graduated from Washington State University’s (WSU) Edward R Murrow College of Communication — where she worked with a group to start the Murrow Symposium for budding communication professionals, which is now morphing into its 43rd year — she bumped into a friend she’d served with on the committee. DJ must have really impressed this woman because she called her friend who was working at KIRO TV that very day to open the employment door for DJ. “I had a job by that Friday,” she recalls.

We move the conversation along to the important point that simply getting out of the office or house might be all that is needed. You never know who you’ll bump into or what opportunities will arise by simply setting foot out the door. “Just showing up is half the battle,” DJ says.

KGW in Portland

KGW’s Shifting Employment & News Model

Securing a television position in a larger market like Portland or Seattle used to be an arduous process. After graduating with a journalism or communication degree, candidates were expected to cut their teeth in a small market before being welcomed into the larger pond. But the integration of digital reporting that’s now expected to be packaged with traditional reporting is causing KGW to consider candidates coming directly out of colleges that have top-notch programs, like WSU.

“We know who has the most potential,” DJ says. Solid digital skills mean candidates could take the fast track to larger markets, bypassing small town U.S.A.

“Cassidy Quinn [our first PR Talk media guest] is the poster child for this, we found her on YouTube,” DJ says. While apparently a few “legacy journalists,” as DJ calls them, raised their eyebrows at this development, Cassidy continues to prove herself. An example of a multi-skilled journalist (MSJ), DJ recalls a time this winter when Cassidy went out alone to film herself snowboarding. Reporting and snowboarding at the same time without any help from a photographer makes me tired just thinking about it. Needless to say, KGW is sending Cassidy to cover the Olympics this year.

Today the station highly values additional content created alongside a reporter’s traditional content. Of course stations expect reporters to fill all roles, however I’m thinking this is another avenue for PR professionals to explore — a testament to the significant need to maintain our social and digital media skills to offer alongside traditional earned media placements.

Getting it Out Bypasses the Stagnation of Quality Control

How does one stop a camera from shaking when filming yourself snowboarding? It doesn’t really matter anymore. Apparently getting the news out is more important than production value, depending on what type of story is being highlighted. If it’s a fun, silly piece, perfect production can wipe out any emotional appeal or real-time reporting effects.

Of course there is a time and place for causal reporting. When spotlighting news that can only be taken very seriously, such as human trafficking, there is no place for gimmicks, DJ strictly adds.

“But there are times when we shouldn’t take ourselves so seriously. When we can have fun,” DJ says.

And fun is definitely in DJ’s repertoire. This warm woman doesn’t hold the stiff briskness expected from most high-powered executives. She was happy to lend her time, touring us through the newsroom on our way out the door, offering hugs as parting gifts.

My last question, unfortunately off-air, was in response to her nonchalant mention of weekend eclipse work. I wanted to know if she worked all the time. “I know how to play hard too,” she comforted. I have no doubt that this is true, which is why I’ll be keeping this mentor’s contact information in my back pocket.

About the guest: DJ Wilson

DJ Wilson is president and general manager of the KGW Media Group in Portland, Oregon, a position she has held since July 2007. Previously, she served as vice president and assistant general manager of the Belo Media Group in Seattle; KING-TV (NBC), KONG-TV (IND) and NorthWest Cable News in Seattle/Tacoma and president and general manager of the Belo Media Group in Spokane, Washington; KREM-TV (CBS) and KSKN-TV (CW). Read more from the Portland Business Journal Bizwomen bio.

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PR Talk is sponsored by dapulse

In such a fast-paced, multi-faceted work environment, it can be tough to stay on top of everything. dapulse is the collaboration tool trusted by businesses of all kinds to help cut down the clutter and streamline productivity. Learn more at dapulse.com and signup for a free trial. You’ll see in no time why so many teams around the world are choosing dapulse for their project management needs.

PR Talk listeners can use the coupon code BetterExecute for a 15% discount.

PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.