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    Coffee with a Journalist: Allie Garfinkle, Yahoo! Finance

    Allie Garfinkle is a senior tech reporter at Yahoo! Finance, where she covers e-commerce, social media, the gig economy, and labor-focused stories for both broadcast and print.

    During this episode, Allie discusses her main areas of coverage, analyzes real pitches sent to her inbox, why she loves tech, and shares her preferences for being pitched exclusives. Learn more about her and her work on Twitter and LinkedIn.


    CWJ View Transcription CTA


    Her Favorite Subject Lines

    [00:08:52] BB: Okay. So let's talk about subject lines, and then we'll get into your – How you'd like to be pitched. You actually gave us a couple of subject lines. 

    [00:09:00] AG: I did. 

    [00:09:01] BB: Yes. They're just so interesting:

    • Ring In A Meow Year of Fun with Cat Amazing!  – Samples Available!
    • Press release: Kate Middleton's beauty secret "Botox in the Bottle" is conquering the World - number 1 on amazon u.s.
    • Apple Watch Ultra is finally a real Dive Computer. Would you like an expert opinion?
    • Greycroft investor, former Pinterest M&A head for your show
    • Hi from May (fellow Marooner!)

    Did any of these warrant your opening? 

    [00:09:38] AG: Only one did. 

    [00:09:40] BB: Okay. Which one? 

    [00:09:41] AG: Hi from May (fellow Marooner!) 

    It is actually the intro email from May Huang at Highwire PR, who I now work with at that time.

    [00:09:52] BB: Okay. 

    [00:09:53] AG: The other two did not merit my opening my email, and they made me so depressed and angry. 

    [00:10:02] BB: Well, let's go into why does the one hi from May work. 

    [00:10:06] AG: So why it worked for me, I got a lot of interim emails around this time, and there was something about her approach in the subject line that felt incredibly casual.

    [00:10:17] BB: Yeah. I'll say yeah. 

    [00:10:18] AG: I really liked that because I was getting a lot of stuff that was very like, “So great to meet you at Yahoo Finance. Here are 12 pitches.” I was like – It was the kind of thing at the beginning. I was candidly, I think – I don't know if journalists talk – I don't know how – You talk to a lot of journalists, so I wonder – But I will certainly get overwhelmed with all of especially the really formal stuff, especially the really long –

    [00:10:42] BB: Oh, yes.

    [00:10:43] AG: She was so casual. She was like, “Yeah, I also went to nerd school.” We just kind of – I was like, “Yeah, I'll spend 15 minutes on the phone with this person. It seems like I will have a good time and learn something about what she does and who she represents.” 

    I actually did listen to a couple of the podcasts, and it seemed like a lot of us were very, very like, “I want it straightforward, clean clarity.” I'm a little – I don't – That doesn't necessarily work for me, depending on what it is, unless it's a killer pitch, and it's exactly what I need at that exact moment. 

    “If you're trying to build a relationship with me or you want to just see what I'm up to, a little casualness actually does go far with me.  But I really liked that she let me in on how she thinks, about the stuff she thinks about outside of work and how it informs her approach to PR. I think I'm really attracted to original thinkers and people who I can see as collaborators in some way. I think that that's why that worked. I picked that one actually because it started a very – A long, fruitful relationship and it's kind of unassuming.”

    She's someone who I talk to a lot. Whenever I need somebody in cybersecurity, for example, she's the first person I go to.


    Pitching Preferences

    [00:12:25] BB: Now, let’s go into how you like to be pitched. We gathered casually, not too proper, it sounds like. But what else would you say? 

    [00:12:33] AG: Oh, yeah. No. Definitely, there's an era of casualness I like. I would also say a couple of things. The first is that I am a sucker for formatting, like really well-formatted. Oh, like a – You know what? You know what I'm talking about, Beck. You've seen those like beautifully formatted pitches. 

    [00:12:51] BB: Yes. Yes. 

    [00:12:52] AG: Where like everything is exactly in its place, and it's like you've got a couple things bolded. You've got like the –

    [00:12:58] BB: Oh, yes. The link is correct. Yes. Yes. 

    [00:13:01] AG: I just love them. They make me so happy, the order Muppet. Like there's a theory of like out there in the Internet verse about that everyone's an order Muppet or a chaos Muppet. My inner order Muppet just like sings. 

    [00:13:18] BB: Loves it. 

    [00:13:19] AG: Loves it. Lives for it. So casualness formatting. I would say the other thing –

    [00:13:25] BB: Now, those I would even say, though, are a little counter. But you do like the format with the casualness. See?

    [00:13:31] AG: Yeah. I think there's – Yeah. Maybe what I want is slightly contradictory in a turn of events – I'm sure you've never heard anything like that before.

    [00:13:39] BB: Yeah, right. 

    “I really love when someone comes to me, ‘Hey, Allie. I read your story. I thought this was really cool. I actually do have a pitch for you.’ and like gives me like really quickly everything that I would need to know.”

    AG: This brings me to the thing that is really important: super long emails with giant blocks of text. I'm not going to deal with it. I will look at it. Unless it's someone I already know or, again, it's something that's finger to the pulse of the moment, exactly what I needed that given day because so much of my life is structured around breaking news.

    A giant group of text is just another thing in my inbox that exists to stress me out in my lizard brain. So I think length does matter. Like the really long pitches are rough for me, which is I think part of the reason why those emails I was getting at the beginning, at the top with Yahoo were so hard because I was like, “Oh, my God. There's so many different things in here. My brain – I have too many things. I have too many messages coming in at any given time to properly sift through this.” Does that make sense?


    Rapid Fire Questions

    BB: Okay, here we go. Video or phone interview?

    • AG: Video. 

    BB: Bullet points or paragraphs?

    • AG: Bullet points. I love those.

    BB: Short or long pitch?

    • AG: Short, short, short, short.

    BB: Images attached or Dropbox zip file?

    • AG: Dropbox zip file.

    BB: Pitches in the morning or at night?

    • AG: Oh, morning.

    BB: Email or Twitter DM?

    • AG: Email. Twitter DM, I don't take answering those as seriously as I should. It’s really bad.

    BB: Okay. One follow up or multiple?

    • AG: One. I understand why multiple follow ups exist. But if we don't know each other, they're going to get annoying fast.

    BB: Direct or creative subject lines?

    • AG: Creative. Creative every time. If you give me like a crazy but relevant subject line, I like my day. I there's like a high chance I’m going to answer. I'll be like, “Oh, this was weird. I want to know more.”

    BB: Press release or media kit or neither?

    • AG: Press release. I'll ask if I want the media kit.




    Learn more pitch tips and insights from previous guests on Coffee with a Journalist in our journalist spotlight videos available for free on YouTube.

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