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    Coffee with a Journalist: Megan Farokhmanesh, Wired

    Megan Farokhmanesh is a senior writer at Wired where she covers the exciting world of video games and the industry behind it.

    During the podcast episode, Megan will delve into her writing process and share with us why she uses so many sticky notes, how to effectively format subject lines, her preference for lead time on stories, and much more. If you want to know more about her work, follow Megan on Twitter and LinkedIn.


    CWJ View Transcription CTA


    What She Covers 

    [0:02:13] BB: Well said. You also cover everything culture. Of course, gear is a big thing, but security, there's science. There's a lot of meaty stuff in there. Megan, for you, though, specifically, what should us publicists know that you want to write about?

    [0:02:28] MF: I'm a video game reporter, which means a lot of things to a lot of different people.

    [0:02:32] BB: Yes.

    [0:02:32] MF: What I'll say is the way that I approach video game coverage, and I've been doing this for oh, gosh, like more than a decade. I always think of it as not covering exactly the products themselves, but rather the industry around it. I'm interested in the people making games, the cultures that spring up because of it, or just interesting stories that tell us a little bit about what games can tell us about ourselves. I like to center my stories on people. I do a lot of labor reporting, because there's a lot of interesting stuff happening within this very strange industry that intersects tech and entertainment.


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    Relationship Building 101 

    [0:08:47] BB: Oh, okay. Well, one of our questions is relationship building, how can people make relationships with you. Is it an invite to anything game related? Or is it just even an invite of, “Hey, I have a lot of game clients. You want to go to coffee? I'm in Brooklyn.”

    [0:09:02] MF: This depends, right? It depends on what it is you're trying to pitch me on, or who your client is. If you are coming to me and you're like, “I have somebody who wants to talk about Bitcoin.” Or very often wants to talk about the metaverse. I’ll look at it, it's like a VC, or someone who I don't think is actually going to be relevant for my audience and my stories, I don't want that. I'm not going to sit down and talk with you, because I think it would just be disrespectful to both our time, because if I'm not going to use any of your stories, you should go find somebody who will.

    “I generally do like to sit down with people who if I've worked with you before and I know you're a good PR person, or you have a good idea of my work, you haven't just found me randomly, I'm very happy to sit down with you. I do prefer to actually have a conversation with people, because I really want to have that face-to-face interface, even if now it's just video-to-video phase.”


    Rapid Fire Pitching Preferences

    BB: Video or phone interview?

    • MF: Video interview.

    BB: Bullet points, or paragraphs?

    • MF: This is a funny question. Just because I used to work at Axios. I'm breaking rapid fire, but I used to work at Axios and we wrote in bullet points. If you are sending me quick information, bullet points. If you actually are sending me something that requires a little bit more explanation, paragraphs. I keep being like, no, I want both, depending on the situation. I’ll have to fickle.

    BB: Short or long pitches?

    • MF: Short.

    BB: How short?

    • MF: I would say, I don't need a lot of fluff. I don't need you to fluff my ego. I need you to tell me what it is that makes the story interesting, or what it is about the subject. Pretty much like an any pitch, I just want to know if this person who are not your client, is this a story you'd want to read? Because if you bring me something that you don't think is interesting, and you don't really care about, why would my readers?

    BB: Images attached, or Dropbox, or a zip file?

    • MF: Images attached. I do not like to go to a second location.

    BB: Pitches in the morning, or in the evening, or no preference?

    • MF: In the morning. I like really it. First hour of my day, I like to sit down with my coffee. I go through my inbox and I do the thing right and reading emails and then not deleting them, or unreading them. I like to at least have a grasp on what my day might look like and what things I need to prioritize.

    BB: Email or Twitter DM?

    • MF: Here's the thing. I like a Twitter DM if you are a developer source, that kind of thing. Because for me, I realized that you – as long as you're doing in a safe way, I want you to reach out to me in a way that feels comfortable for you. I know that email can feel a bit weird. It's also like, if you're emailing me with sensitive documents, I want you to go to a specific email, which is my proton email. Whereas, if you have a PR pitch for me, do not ever pitch it to me in my DMs, because that is a sacred ground for other people who have a problem, or something they really need to talk about with me.

    BB: One follow-up, or multiple?

    • MF: I like a healthy three.

    BB: A healthy three. That is healthy. Okay.

    • MF: It's like, I will often either see a pitch and be busy. Or perhaps, read it and then do that thing where my brain gets distracted, and I didn't write on a sticky note. It's like, I like the second one, because it gives me a chance to be like, “Okay, here's something I really need to look at.” If you still haven't heard from me, and it's something that you actually think is a good pitch for me and you know I'd be interested in, that third one is when I'm like, “Okay, this person is reaching out again. I'm finally going to really take a look at it.”

    BB: Direct or creative subject lines?

    • MF: Oh, my gosh. Direct. Do not ever send me creative subject lines. Some of them, I will get them and I'm like, “What does that mean?” I appreciate the urge to be creative and I think it's really great when people can use email, I guess, as a creative outlet for other people. You don't need to do with me. I just like when you tell me right away what I need to know.

    BB: Press release, or media kit?

    • MF: Press release.

    BB: Attached, I'm assuming.

    • MF: Attached. Please attach. Yeah.

    BB: Attached. All attached.

    • MF: Yeah. I like to have all the information right there. A media kit, because Wired, we like to do our own arts. We have an art team that prefers to gather images themselves, or create stuff. We try not to use just screenshots and stuff as much. For me, it's a media kit is it's like, you handed me a box full of stuff. I don't want to have to take the time to go through the entire box. I just want the list on top of the box.




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