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    Coffee with a Journalist: Stephanie Palazzolo, The Information

    Stephanie Palazzolo is an AI reporter at The Information covering artificial intelligence startups, VCs, tech giants and research. Stephanie also writes AI Agenda, The Information's daily newsletter.


    During the episode, Stephanie walks us through her background in tech investment banking, the sources and stories she's currently most interested in, and her favorite resources and reading material for staying up to date on AI.


    Follow her on LinkedIn and X/Twitter


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




    CWJ View Transcription CTA


    Specifics of The Information's Coverage


    [00:00:51] BB: Welcome, everyone. This is Coffee with a Journalist. I'm Beck Bamberger. What we try to do on our little show here is demystify the world of PR and working with journalists, reporters, editors, writers, all the comms and media people out there that we need to all be in good working condition and good relationships with because we all need each other.


    With us today is a reporter from The Information, an outlet that I like to read every day. Great if you're in the tech world. She's here to talk about AI, pitching, all the things. Welcome, Stephanie.


    [00:01:28] SP: Yes. Thank you so much. Really happy to be here.

    [00:01:30] BB: Yes. First of all, Stephanie, I do ask this pretty much of everyone. For those who may not be as familiar, what does The Information’s coverage include?


    [00:01:41] SP: Yes. As you kind of mentioned earlier, we are a tech and finance and business- focused outlet, so write a lot about VC and startups, Silicon Valley, big tech, but also cover the world of finance and media as well. So lots of fun, fun stuff there.


    [00:01:59] BB: Oh, for sure. Specifically for your coverage beats, Stephanie, how would you describe it?


    [00:02:05] SP: Yes. I'm the AI reporter here. That basically means that –


    [00:02:08] BB: A little busy then, just a little bit.


    [00:02:11] SP: Yes. Just like AI is a super underground thing, so nobody really knows about it but –


    [00:02:15] BB: No, no one does. You're the ones making it. How about that?


    [00:02:20] SP: Yes. But basically here, I write our AI Agenda, which is our daily newsletter on AI, and then kind of just cover the industry more broadly. It’s pretty broad-ranging, everything from VC and AI startups to big Tech, to cloud and chips research and policy. It definitely gets a touch on a lot of areas which I really love.


    [00:02:42] BB: Now, usually, I don't be asking this stuff, but do you have a take on how you feel AI is going? Or is that too hot for me to ask?


    [00:02:52] SP: No, no. I mean, I don't know. I think it's kind of interesting because pre- journalism, I used to work as like a tech investment banker. I think so much of my job was working with companies that were going public, writing their S1, which really included marketing these companies, making them sound amazing. Coming into journalism, I was actually very optimistic and excited about tech, which I still am.


    [00:03:15] BB: Yes, good.


    [00:03:16] SP: Yes. But I feel like now I've almost got a little bit of skepticism or gotten a little bit [inaudible 00:03:21]. I think AI is amazing. I think the tech is really, really cool, and there's lots of amazing use cases out there. But I think people do kind of overestimate what it can do in the short run. We have a lot further to go than what people might think.


    How Stephanie Manages Her 40-50 Daily Pitches


    [00:03:36] BB: I feel the same. Okay. Let's talk about your inbox. How is it in there?


    [00:03:41] SP: It's pretty crazy.


    [00:03:42] BB: I'd imagine. I'd imagine. What's in there?


    [00:03:45] SP: Oh, man. I mean, in terms of pitches, I feel like I get probably 40 to 50 pitches a day. Yes. Just everything around –


    [00:03:55] BB: Not as bad as I thought, honestly. I thought you would be the hottest ticket in every tech world everything right now but you know.


    [00:04:01] SP: Yes. I don't know. I mean, I could definitely be underestimating it. But maybe a lot of it just goes to my spam or something. But, yes, I don't know. I feel like there's just so many ways you can come at it from in terms of sometimes we have investors reaching out or startups or just like tech or people from Washington. It’s quite a wide range of different types of pitches.


    [00:04:23] BB: For pitches you like versus you don't like, what would you delineate those differences as?


    [00:04:30] SP: Yes, totally. I mean, so I actually feel like I'm pretty good at going through all the pitches in my inbox. I sit down and dedicate 20, 30 minutes in the morning and then will go through in the afternoon around 5 or 6pm. Yes. That’s like –


    [00:04:44] BB: You got some time blocking done. Okay, good.

    [00:04:47] SP: Yes. But because I'm going through every single pitch, I do appreciate it when they're short and to the point, especially ones where the main idea is in the subject line.


    [00:04:58] BB: Right in the front in the subject line.

    [00:05:00] SP: Yes. For instance, OpenAI released GPT-4o.

    [00:05:03] BB: Yes, the chatty one, the casual conversation one with all the things.


    [00:05:07] SP: Yes, yes. The very flirty and fun one, as all the videos on Twitter are showing. But for instance, I had somebody say – there's one subject line where it said, “Silicon Valley source on OpenAI’s GPT-4o announcement.” That's just very general.


    I have no idea who the source is. I don't know what their take is. Versus I had another one that said, “OpenAI disappoints ahead of anticipated search announcement.” That one was interesting. I was like, “Oh, okay. This person has a take. It's something different that I hadn't really heard before.”


    It also showed that they had been following the news because basically – originally, there were rumors going around that OpenAI was going to release a search engine on Monday, but it didn't end up doing that. So it showed that this person had been following the rumors and the gossip, close enough to know what was expected and that they didn't end up doing that.


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    Rapid Fire Pitching Preferences


    [00:15:55] BB: Okay. Stephanie, we have a little quick-fire portion of our podcast here. Are you ready for the answers? 


    [00:16:03] SP: Yes.  


    [00:16:04] BB: Let's do it. Phone or video interviews? 


    [00:16:09] SP: Video.  


    [00:16:09] BB: Video. I haven't heard that answer in a while.  


    [00:16:12] SP: I know.  


    [00:16:12] BB: Bullet point or paragraphs in pitches?  


    [00:16:15] SP: Bullet points.  


    [00:16:16] BB: Okay. Short or long pitches? I assume short then if you want some bullets. 


    [00:16:21] SP: Yes, short. I feel like two to three paragraphs usually.  


    [00:16:23] BB: Yes, tops. How about images attached or a Dropbox zip file?


    [00:16:29] SP: Images because I’m very bad – 


    [00:16:31] BB: Attached? 


    [00:16:32] SP: Yes, images attached. I'm very bad.  


    [00:16:34] BB: I know. I don't like to click another thing to click another thing. No. Email or any DMs? You already mentioned this but just to be clear.  


    [00:16:42] SP: Yes, email. Email is best.  


    [00:16:43] BB: Yes. One follow-up or multiple? 


    [00:16:46] SP: I think two follow-ups is a good amount.  


    [00:16:48] BB: That's the max. Got it. Direct or creative subject lines? We talked on this a little bit, but do expand.  


    [00:16:56] SP: I personally think direct is more helpful, but I have gotten some pretty out there creative ones that have caught my eye, so I don't know.  


    [00:17:04] BB: Caught your eye and been of benefit or just caught your eye that's funny. 


    [00:17:08] SP: Caught my eye like that's funny. But then I do click on it and read.


    [00:17:11] BB: Oh. Well, okay. All right. Press release or media kit? 


    [00:17:15] SP: Press release.  


    [00:17:16] BB: Time you read pitches? You were talking a little bit about that. You have your blocks but anything else? 


    [00:17:20] SP: Yes. Usually 9am. I spend 20, 30 minutes and then 5 or 6pm, whenever I'm leaving for the day.  


    [00:17:27] BB: Okay. You do good blocking, Stephanie. Most people lately on here have been  like, “All the time. All the time.” It's like, “Wow. That's –” 


    [00:17:35] SP: No, I cannot do that for my sanity’s sake.  


    [00:17:39] BB: Yes. I'm with you. Then we talked about sources that you're looking for, so we covered that. Stephanie, is there anything, lastly, that we can celebrate, tout, highlight y’all are doing, you're doing, anything you got? I mean, there's lots of newsletters. Sign up for your newsletter, of course.  


    [00:17:56] SP: Yes. I would say always looking for feedback and thoughts on the newsletter. I would love to be able to write on topics that people are really interested in. I guess one little shout out is that we are having our first-ever AI Summit in September. 


    [00:18:11] BB: Look at that. Yes.  


    [00:18:13] SP: Wait for that.  


    [00:18:15] BB: Okay. You told us more, September. But, yes, how long, what's going on, all the things. 


    [00:18:19] SP: Yes. It’s going to be based in SF. It's happening on September 5. Yes. We're going to have Reid Hoffman speaking. 


    [00:18:27] BB: Oh, hey.  


    [00:18:28] SP: [inaudible 00:18:28] AI founders and other investors and researchers. Please submit if you have any good speakers that you want us to consider.  


    [00:18:38] BB: Oh, speakers. Okay, call for speakers. Look at that. Oh, good. Stephanie, thank you so much for being on today. This is great.


    I cannot imagine the speed at which your beat is changing, so I salute you. Thank you for doing the good work out there and keeping us posted  on all things AI.  


    [00:18:58] SP: Yes. Thank you for having me.


    [00:19:00] BB: You are welcome, Stephanie. She's a reporter at The Information covering everything in AI. Thanks again, Miss Stephanie. Really appreciate you.



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