Home > Uncategorized > From Zero To Sixty: Twitter, Cision And The LA Times

From Zero To Sixty: Twitter, Cision And The LA Times

December 29, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

So this morning I had an idea: I decided to grow some balls and finally pitch the LA Times a Southern California mountain biking story I’ve been working on for the past few months. The story, an in depth look at an up and coming destination, fits the tight restrictions the Times demands, but as all stories might not be what the editor is looking for. So before sending off a note I spent about an hour and turned to Twitter and Cision to see what I could come up with. The following is what I was able to compile.

Initial Tweet:

Looking for thoughts/insight/tips when pitching LA Times Travel Editors. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks

Within twenty minutes I had a message from a travel editor with Time Inc. It read:

It’s Catharine Hamm. She needs western U.S. Would think active outdoors stuff you do (toned down) would work. Feel free to mention my name

So I then took her name and entered it into Cision’s media map database. The database, which includes contact info and some background information written by Catharine herself, gave me some insight into how she thinks, and what she likes to receive. Here is a short excerpt:

 Each week, they run three in-depth destination pieces and one weekend escape. The escapes are usually within California or nearby regions such as Mexico, Arizona and the Pacific Northwest. Sending her unsung or “underdog” stories can get ink as well. All of the paper’s destination pieces are first-person experiential and there are two perspectives; one where a traveling family is the focus and one where the family is secondary. Know which angle offers a story the most novelty and be sure to highlight those points. Keep pitches fresh and targeted.

Naturally I then went to the Times site and researched past stories that may/may not be similar to the one I was thinking of pitching. I found several stories on the topic of mountain biking and noticed a common theme: They were all written by Hugo Martin. Turns out with some research that he has the job I want (gets paid to go places and do cool things) and that a passion of his is mountain biking. Good to know they have a staff writer who may have already pitched this piece.

Finally less than five hours after post the initial Tweet, the LA Times tech blogger and social media guru writes to me with a link to the LA Times travel writers guidelines. Then it turns out he used to edit the section for two years and is willing to help me out with some tips. See below:

LATimesNystrom @tshisler Current @LATimestravelfreelance editorial submission guidelines are online + downloadable at http://latimes.com/travelgu…


LATimesNystrom @tshisler My pleasure. If you follow me so I can DM you I can provide additional insights, since I editedhttp://travel.latimes.com for 2yrs


LATimesNystrom email me at XXX w/ your pitch + I can help craft it a bit, if it might fly. I’m out of office disconnecting until 1/5

Lesson learned? If you’re smart social media can tear down barriers once nearly impossible to overcome and a freelance writer like me might be able to get some ink. Cool stuff.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Kristin
    December 30, 2008 at 3:22 am

    See I told you Tim… You’re taking over the world.

  2. Wendy
    December 30, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    How do you keep track of yourself?!

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