Interviewing people is what a journalist does every day, but we seldom hear what a journalist wants to say. This year, we launched Behind The Byline Podcast and spoke to 9 journalists from 8 markets in the APAC region. They shared their day-to-day challenges, memorable assignments, and insights on industry trends. Given their job nature, it is no surprise they share a lot in common.
Here are the 5 things we learned from journalists and editors on Behind The Byline Podcast.
1. Tips to make press releases stand out
Journalists express they usually skip press releases with long headlines. Indeed, shorter headline is more effective as explained in a recent blog by our editor, which analyzes how the right mix of actions words and information can bring the most out of a headline. Besides, journalists emphasize that they expect to receive high resolution images. It is alright to embed images in the word document but remember to attach them in their original size. To go the extra mile, PR pros can write an abstract for their press release. Although that means an additional workload, journalists appreciate the effort being made in facilitating their work.
2. Tips for PR pros to work with journalists
Some PR pros send press releases to ALL their media contacts in the hope that the story will reach as many recipients as possible and thus score a higher . On the contrary, this will not be the case and will leave a bad impression on journalists whose beats are irrelevant to the news.
Communication is important in building trust and relationships. PR pros can take the initiative to contact journalists and understand what they are keen to cover. When pitching media, ensure there is sufficient lead time for journalists to follow up on the stories or interviews because they have their own editorial calendar set well in advance. All in all, journalists advise PR pros to learn more about their media organizations and target audience before approaching them.
3. Covid has altered the media landscape
In the first two years of Covid, the main mode of interview was virtual and there were no physical events to attend. After getting used to these abrupt changes, journalists have explored new types of content such as podcasts and short videos to enhance their audiences’ experience. A prolonged suspension of travel activities has made things especially unkind for travel media platforms - to cope with the circumstances, they have shifted to cover culture, lifestyle, and hospitality in their local cities.
4. Upcoming trends journalists are interested to report
Covid has hugely reshaped our way of living and paved the way for a new normal. Upcoming trends journalists are interested in reporting are noticeably swayed by the pandemic.
Business news: Use of technology in businesses and stories of start-ups
General news: Post-Covid era, reopening, and cultural exchange
Lifestyle sector: Wellness and health
Technology sector: Web 3.0 and Metaverse
Travel sector: Destination announcements, hotel openings, and sustainable travel
5. All the journalists we speak to are so passionate about their job
We all know the downsides of being a journalist – long and odd hours, unpredictable incidents, and high levels of stress to name a few. Eiko Endo of The Oriental Times and Amanda Valani, former head of original content with Narasi TV, both shared that they found it hard to balance work and private life.
What keeps journalists committed and motivated amid these difficulties? First and foremost, all the journalists we speak to enjoy what they are doing. Also, they reflected that they feel privileged to get first-hand information and talk to people from all walks of life. Journalists find that the rewarding parts of preparing and writing news stories outweigh the compromises they need to make.
Listen to the podcast series on Spotify, or pick an episode from the list below:
Ep 1: With Reta Lee, Editor-in-Chief, Yahoo! Life Southeast Asia (Blog, Spotify, Anchor, YouTube)
Ep 2: With Luisa Tam, Senior Editor, South China Morning Post (Blog, Spotify, Anchor, YouTube)
Ep 3: With Vivian Liu, Technology Journalist, Commercial Times (Blog, Spotify, Anchor, YouTube)
Ep 4: With Rachel Lee, Assistant Editor, TTGmice and TTGassociations (Blog, Spotify, Anchor, YouTube)
Ep 5: With Jeff Liebsch, CEO, Haps Magazine Korea (Blog, Spotify, Anchor, YouTube)
Ep 6: With Eiko Endo, Reporter, The Oriental Times (Blog, Spotify, Anchor, YouTube)
Ep 7: With Matt Cowan, Chief Editor, The Bureau Asia (Blog, Spotify, Anchor, YouTube)
Ep 8: With Amanda Valani, Former Head of Original Content, Narasi TV (Blog, Spotify, Anchor, YouTube)
Ep 9: With Poovenraj Kanagaraj, Founder & Editor, Disruptr (Blog, Spotify, Anchor, YouTube)