Sign In

    The TypeBar

    Coffee with a Journalist: Angel Au-Yeung, Forbes

    On the show today, we’re joined by Angel Au-Yeung, a staff writer for Forbes. Angel writes about innovation and covers the billionaires' beat. She was born in Hong Kong and moved to California when she was five years old. She is also currently co-writing a book about former Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh.

    During the episode, Angel tells us her process for managing her inbox, her honest thoughts on exclusives, her upcoming book release, and more.

    Click below to listen to the full conversation and read below for highlights from the interview:

    CWJ View Transcription CTA


    Her Work Inbox 

    [00:02:06] BB: Yes. And we will be talking about a book you're writing in just a little bit later. So looking forward to that. First off, we chat a little bit about it before, but your inbox. We'd like to start there. How is your inbox on the daily?

    [00:02:20] AA: My inbox is a mess. I don't really know how it compares with other journalists, but it's a terror. I have many unread mails. I pick and choose which emails I want to open. And a lot of them remain unopened. But we are in January 4th. So it's a new year. So far, I've been getting a lot of happy new year emails, notes from analysts, including one from app analyst talking about the company hitting 3 trillion market cap, newsletters, DealBook, Axios, California Sun.

    I did get an interesting email from a person who reps a well-known billionaire, and I'm going to let the listeners try and figure out who the billionaire is. But it's an email that says that this billionaire cannot meet my deadline because, “As you can imagine, X is dealing with numerous mission critical items which require his attentiveness.” That was kind of funny, but –”

    [00:02:53] BB: So question, since it is the start of the year, what did you do with everything from last year? Do you like let everything ride? Or do you do a mass delete dump and like start new year with zero in the inbox? 

    [00:03:04] AA: That sounds like a really good ambitious plan. But no, I just let it run.

    [00:03:10] BB: I let it ride. Okay. 

    [00:03:11] AA: Yes. My inbox, it has fossils. And I prefer to keep it that way. I like to keep everything as possible. Maybe I'm a hoarder. I'm a digital hoarder.


    Her Thoughts on Pitches



    [00:04:01] BB: Oh! Dang. Okay. That's an unusual one. I haven't heard that one before. So you're first in line on that. For the myriad of emails you do get, and for the ones you open, why do you open them? Is it the subject line, for example? Or is it, “Oh, I know that person.” 

    [00:04:20] AA: It's both. Definitely, if I know that person, I'm obviously going to open their emails. Sometimes there are little tricks that I've seen folks employ that I fall for. And this one we love. It's when you put the subject line in all lowercase. You know what I’m talking about?

    But yeah, it really depends on like what the exclusive is like. Are you launching a new business? Are you launching a new product around a funding? And depending on what the news is, then you adjust and respond?”

    [00:04:38] BB: Yeah. I always think that looks spammy, though. 

    [00:04:42] AA: To me, it actually doesn't.

    [00:04:44] BB: Oh, interesting.

    [00:04:45] AA: Yeah. Because for me, when you're typing something in all lowercase, it almost evokes like a sense of familiarity you have with that person.


    Her Thoughts on Exclusives & Embargoes 

    [00:05:13] BB: O wow! Okay. Oh, I can't even stand the thought of something all lowercase that I'd send to a journalist. That's like – Wow! Okay. So if you're familiar with the person, sometimes it's the subject line. Okay. What about perhaps related to this, because it could be in the subject line if they put something like exclusive. Do you like exclusives or embargoes? This is the big long debate.

    “But if I had to choose between the two, I would always want an exclusive from a source over an embargo.”

    [00:05:38] AA: Yeah, I prefer exclusives over embargo. And I think every journalist respond with that. Embargoes, I'm fine with respecting them. But I go into it knowing that it's obviously not going to be exclusive, and that there's going to be five other stories that are the same exact story is the one that I would write about this. So I would always prefer embargoes over exclusives. Exclusives can be a tricky thing because – 

    [00:06:05] BB: Oh, tell us. 

    [00:06:06] AA: Well, they can be used in strange ways. I think this is maybe more – This is more to do with this one story that I was doing, and involved a billionaire, who I think wanted press.



    How She Writes Stories

    [00:09:59] BB: Walk us through, Angel, if you could, an article that you've recently done that you particularly love, and how that came to be. For example, we were talking earlier, and I was mentioning, “Wow! That was an in depth piece you did at the end of the year featuring and talking about the uprising of employees at a level we've never seen before.” And that that's going to continue, by the way, throughout next year. It that maybe story – You can pick that one or another one. But how did it come to be? And walk us through one?

    [00:10:31] BB: Yeah. [inaudible 00:10:32]. 

    [00:10:34] AA: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I've been following the workers movement within tech for a couple months now. I mean, last year, 2021, was really kind of a flashpoint year for tech workers. And I think that when people outside of Silicon Valley think about worker uprising in tech, they immediately start playing like a small violin for them. Because for the most part [inaudible 00:10:55] workers as very educated and super well-paid. And they get a lot of cushy benefits, all of which is true. Most workers, pre-COVID, they got free breakfast, lunch, dinners, on site dry cleaning, on site parlors. 

    [00:11:11] BB: Massage, mm-hmm, nails, everything.

    “So I think a lot of Forbes content, at least on the editorial side that we're the staff writers contribute to, we do like to celebrate the successes of the business world, whether that be tech, manufacturing, food agriculture. We look at the whole gamut.” 

    [00:11:13] AA: Exactly. Those were all real benefits. But what I found when I spoke with a lot of these workers who were organizing within these big tech companies, they more or less were not really fighting for benefits for themselves. They were fighting for benefits for the non-salaried workers. So the contractors, the temp workers, which includes people who work in the data centers, to the janitors at HQ. And I thought that that was a really interesting and important distinction that I think a lot of people can miss if they just read a headline of tech worker uprising.

    So through that, I just got to talking to a lot of these employees that work at these big tech companies. And it was just really interesting to hear about people who are fighting for something bigger than themselves. And that really seems to be kind of the sentiment of 2021. Particularly, we thought the pandemic was over. And now it doesn't seem like it totally is. So. Yeah, I mean, I've loved writing those types of stories, because I really got the chance to talk to people that I feel like I can actually relate to. Because as a Forbes reporter, especially for me, because I started on the billionaire beat, which is –

    [00:12:29] BB: Yeah. Not exactly relatable? 

    [00:12:30] AA: Yeah. I mean, you end up talking to a lot of people that billionaires are billionaires. I wouldn't say that they are the most relatable people for the average day person, especially the average journalist.





    Angel’s coverage of billionaires means the pool of sources she works with can be fairly small. Although that shouldn’t steer you away from reaching out to her with an exclusive if you have an innovative business, or product, in the works. 

    Be sure to keep an eye out for her upcoming book chronicling the late Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh, hitting “shelves” soon.

    Keep an eye out for Angel's journalist spotlight videos and subscribe to the podcast newsletter below!

    Want more tips from journalists?

    Click below to subscribe to Coffee with a Journalist and receive weekly emails highlighting reporters, journalists, and editors and their individual pitching preferences.


    Want 290% More

    Press Coverage?

    OnePitch radically simplifies the process of getting the perfect press coverage for your brand. Wanna try it out?

    New call-to-action

    Newsletter Form

    Recent Posts

    About Us

    OnePitch was created by a handful of
    tech-savvy publicists and journalists
    who believe that the PR industry is
    long overdue for some innovation.
    We’re changing this with OnePitch.