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    Coffee with a Journalist: Samantha Maldonado, THE CITY

    Samantha Maldonado is a senior reporter for climate change at THE CITY, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, digital news platform dedicated to hard-hitting reporting that serves the people of New York.

    During the episode, Samantha shares an inside look at THE CITY and what they focus on as a publication, why embargoes can be helpful for reporting stories quicker, a few tips on what exactly to include or exclude in pitches, 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


    Accountability Reporting

    [00:04:29] BB: Yes. How would you explain accountability reporting?

    [00:04:34] SM: Yes. For us at THE CITY, I think it's about holding feet to the fire about promises that were made or responsibility that government or other people with power have and really asking the question. Are they are they doing what they promised? Or are they living up to their responsibilities? If so, great. What does that look like? Are they deviating, or are things falling through the cracks? Things like that. 

    Are there projects or other sorts of commitments that have fallen through, or they've ended up in sort of a mess? That happens a lot. Are dollars getting spent the way they should, especially when their public tax dollars? Who's getting harmed? Things like that. Being able to sort of call out what is actually going on. This can be positive or maybe a little bit more negative to some people — 


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    Relationship Building 101 

    [00:10:36] BB: Samantha, for those who perhaps want to build a relationship with you, they think they have something climate, New York-focused related, how shall they go about meeting with you? Do you want to go on a coffee?

    [00:10:47] SM: Typically, no. I don't have time for coffees too much. I mean, I really love meeting with people. Usually, it's after we've sort of spoken on the phone or if I've gotten a pitch that I have questions about, things like that. Then I'll usually be like, “Oh, yes. Let's have a coffee date. We've been talking for a little while.” But I frankly just don't have time to get coffee with like folks in PR too often. Yes. 

    But, I mean, if there are pitches, like I love getting them sent to my inbox or getting a text, just to sort of like turn my attention to something that's happening. I, obviously, can't respond to everything. But sometimes, I do find interesting things that way. People have been really good resources, even if I'm not sort of writing exactly on what they pitched me. Maybe something related and that's kind of a way I've been able to connect with some experts or companies that they represent or anything like that.


    Rapid Fire Pitching Preferences

    [00:14:37] BB: Video or phone interview?

    • [00:14:42] SM: Phone.

    [00:14:43] BB: Bullet points or paragraphs?

    • [00:14:45] SM: Maybe a strategic combination of the two. 

    [00:14:47] BB: Short or long pitches?

    • [00:14:50] SM: Short in the beginning with some more information at the end.

    [00:14:54] BB: Images attached or Dropbox zip file?

    • [00:15:01] SM: Neither. I would say no images unless I asked.

    [00:15:05] BB: Pitches in the morning or at night or doesn't matter?

    • [00:15:09] SM: It doesn't matter. 

    [00:15:10] BB: Email or Twitter DM?

    • [00:15:12] SM: Email. 

    [00:15:13] BB: One follow-up or multiple?

    • [00:15:14] SM: Just one. 

    [00:15:15] BB: Direct or creative subject lines?

    • [00:15:18] SM: I guess direct. 

    [00:15:20] BB: Press release or media kit?

    • [00:15:23] SM: Press release.




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