Sign In

    The TypeBar

    Coffee with a Journalist: Dani Kwateng, Teen Vogue

    Danielle Kwateng is a journalist, editor, entrepreneur, and culture critic. Currently, Danielle serves as the Executive Editor of Teen Vogue, doing everything from reviewing budgets to managing the Teen Vogue brand and a whole lot in between. Occasionally, she writes stories about the consumer and lifestyle sector.


    During the episode, Dani shares the evolution of Teen Vogue over the last two decades, how writers can
    pitch her concepts and ideas, how exclusives can get funneled to other Conde Nast publications
    and more.


    Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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




    CWJ View Transcription CTA



    Managing Correspondence Within a Chaotic Inbox 


    [00:05:39] DK: Oh, my gosh. My inbox is a lot. So I was a reporter, a writer, editor, all that. So
    because of my me coming up from the ranks, I get a mix of all of it, right? I still get pitches like
    I'm an editor. I still get asked to cover things like I'm a writer. Then I also get executive editor
    emails about business happenings, P&L, management stuff, staffing, all of that management
    exec stuff that's expected with the role.

    My inbox is a little bit of a circus, but I would say my – the best way to describe what I do is a
    traffic controller, and I point everybody in the right direction to go to get what they need at Teen
    Vogue. A lot of times, it's not for me. Like not every pitch is for me. Most pitches actually are not
    for me.


    [00:06:25] BB: Yes, I was going to say.


    [00:06:26] DK: Yes, which we'll get into. But I am a traffic controller because my inbox looks so

    [00:06:32] BB: Got it. Then are you traffic controlling to zero? Are you a let-it-ride person? Are
    you all the planes hitting each other? Or is it like – how is it?

    [00:06:44] DK: I would say it’s smooth sailing. We’re JFK over here.

    [00:06:48] BB: Nice. Strong, strong.

    [00:06:51] DK: I mean, I'm saying this like I know JFK is strong. I hope they are but –

    [00:06:54] BB: I think it is. I don't know either.

    [00:06:55] DK: I think it is. I'm not sure. But, yes, I mean, I think at this point, I can pretty much
    read from a subject line or at least the first couple of sentences what the email is about and who
    it needs to go to or if I need to address it. I also know a red flag email, right, and a writer who's
    assigned something. An editor can't deal with it and needs backup. I know when to jump in or
    when something can wait a day or two. So, yes, like I said, the beauty of my job is that I've been
    everything. So I know how to address most things that drop into my lap.

    [00:07:29] BB: Okay. You said a red flag email. What is that to you?

    [00:07:33] DK: Oh. A red flag email is a writer having an issue with a story in the way that we
    edited it or in something that went live that they take issue with. Maybe they didn't like the way it
    was edited. So that is a red flaggy moment. Another red flag is just PR crisis, which we have a
    beautiful amazing comms team to deal with. But any sort of PR crises that come up, that's red
    flag. I think that's about it. We don't – I mean, Conde is a huge company, so there's folks to deal
    with everything.

    [00:08:06] BB: That's so nice.

    [00:08:07] DK: I know. I know. I know that it's privilege. There's privilege. I know.

    [00:08:11] BB: It's lovely, though.

    [00:08:13] DK: But we do. We have an amazing structure at Conde, so there is folks to deal
    with legal issues or finance issues or comms issues. Like I said, the traffic controller, I need to
    make sure the right people are involved for whatever the issue is. 

    Line for blog

    Want to pitch Dani and other journalists like her?


    Click below to sign up for OnePitch and use these insights in your next pitch!


    Create Account

    Line for blog


    Insight into Effective Communication with Editors


    [00:17:21] BB: But in a productive way because if you really want to get some stuff done, be on
    with the people who are doing the day-to-day.

    [00:17:28] DK: Yes. Because here's the thing, Beck. The thing about it is that I know what's
    going on from a top-level perspective. But I am not the culture editor, so I am not intensely
    thinking about how to make my section dope. I'm not thinking about what I want to do next year
    as a culture editor. I'm presenting it to me as the executive editor, but I am not. So if you want to
    get something that's culture-related or politics-related or style and beauty-related, talk to the
    person who's in it because I as executive editor don't know if they're already planning it. I can't
    say yes to your pitch if I don't know if they're working on the exact same story with another
    writer or another publicist.

    So it's not even effective to really talk to me. I love building relationships to give advice. But, I
    mean, in terms of getting into the industry or fostering relationships that will get you stories,
    that's the editorial team. It’s not really me as much.

    [00:18:20] BB: Yes. I hope people listen to this. This is gold. I feel bad a little bit, but it's the

    [00:18:25] BB: No. Really now, it’s true. You know what? My little analogy is, and not that I have
    any whereabouts of like the White House or whatever, but like don't go to the president when
    you need to go to like the head of the homeland security.

    [00:18:37] DK: Right, that's it. It’s not a – it doesn't come from a place of just like a superiority.
    It's just literally how management works.

    [00:18:45] BB: Yes, exactly.

    [00:18:47] DK: It just does. Because if you think about it, it really doesn't make sense to ask
    me, “Oh, can you –” Here’s a pitch for this, I don't know, beauty brand. Cool, I can pass this to
    the style team and see if they're working on anything. They may already know about this, and
    they already have something in the works. But you know what I mean? I'm just not in the weeds
    like that to make that call. I don't want to step on their toes.



    Rapid Fire Pitching Preferences


    [00:19:18] BB: Here we go. Video or phone interview?

    [00:19:21] DK: Video.

    [00:19:21] BB: Bullet points or paragraphs in pitches?

    [00:19:24] DK: Paragraphs.

    [00:19:25] BB: Paragraphs. Why?

    [00:19:27] DK: I was tempted to say bullet points, bullet points. But I like paragraphs because it feels a little bit more conversational. I think if I saw a pitch from a publicist that was bullet-pointed, I will still be interested, but it doesn't feel as – it feels like maybe like statistics. It feels like not as – it feels very formal, and I like it to feel a little–

    [00:19:47] BB: Cold.

    [00:19:48] DK: Yes, it's cold. That's a good way to put it.

    [00:19:50] BB: Okay. Another avant-garde answer I'd say, Dani. People are like, “Bullet points.”

    [00:19:55] DK: All right. How short or long for pitches?

    [00:19:58] BB: Oh, I'm short always.

    [00:19:59] BB: Short, short. Images attached or Dropbox zip files?

    [00:20:04] DK: For a publicist, probably attached.

    [00:20:07] BB: Okay.

    [00:20:07] DK: Yes, attached, attached.

    [00:20:09] BB: Email or Twitter DM or X, whatever now the thing's called?

    [00:20:13] DK: A hundred percent, a thousand percent, a billion percent email. Do not DM me
    ever. Please, stop.

    [00:20:19] BB: Okay.

    [00:20:20] DK: Don't do it.

    [00:20:20] BB: Exactly. One follow-up or multiple?

    [00:20:23] DK: One.

    [00:20:24] BB: One. Okay.

    [00:20:25] DK: Yes. You know why? Can I just say this?

    [00:20:27] BB: Yes, please. This is the safe space to say, yes.

    [00:20:30] DK: Be proud of what you have. If you're pitching me, it should be something that is
    really fucking cool. So if I'm not interested, move on. Somebody else will be. If it's something
    you feel like you have to push, then maybe it's not something you should – that's not great of a

    [00:20:30] BB: Yes, good point.

    [00:20:45] DK: Right?

    [00:20:46] BB: Brilliant points here. Okay. Direct or creative subject lines?

    [00:20:51] DK: Creative.

    [00:20:52] BB: Creative. Okay. Oh, why? No one's ever said creative I don't think.

    [00:20:57] DK: Creative but she better be good, Beck.

    [00:21:00] BB: There you go.

    [00:21:01] DK: Give me – yes. Don't give me no creatives. The subject line and the inside is like

    [00:21:06] BB: Fake news.

    [00:21:06] DK: Fake news. Because the inbox is boring, so sometimes like having a fun little
    like pitch. Always put the word pitch and then a colon. But if after the colon you want to have
    fun, sure. But the inside better be good.

    [00:21:18] BB: Okay. I like it. What time do you normally read pitches?

    [00:21:23] DK: In the morning. I mean, yes, the morning is it. Yes. Don't send me something on
    Friday at like 3pm. Come on now.

    [00:21:29] BB: No. Press release or media kit?

    [00:21:32] DK: Press release.



    For more great 1:1 conversations with journalists from top-tier outlets, subscribe to the Coffee with a Journalist podcast to get the latest episode drops. Also, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter for other updates on our newest PR tips, tools, and best practices.

    Want more tips from journalists?

    Fill out the form 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.