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    Coffee with a Journalist: Teddy Amenabar, The Washington Post

    Teddy Amenabar is a reporter on the Well+Being team at The Washington Post. Teddy covers internet trends spanning a wide range of subject matter from mental health to exercise and food.

    During the episode, Teddy shares more about the Well+Being team and their coverage, why he doesn’t put much focus on pitch subject lines, his unique perspective on exclusive stories, and lots more.

     If you want to know more about his work, follow Teddy on Twitter and LinkedIn.

    CWJ View Transcription CTA


    Pitches He Likes

    [00:03:09] BB: What type of pitches are you most interested in?

    [00:03:29] TA: Yeah. Okay. So you're right. I'm a general assignment reporter on the team. But my mandate is to report out answers to the questions people have about the health information they come across online. So it can be something that people are searching for on Google or a video that they swipe past on TikTok or watch on YouTube. Like whatever is coming across your screen that relates to health information, how can I as a journalist answer that, get the experts to answer that to give you a better idea of that topic or the question you might have?

    [00:04:07] BB: So then are you following closely Google searches? Or are you relying on pitches or both? 

    [00:04:13] TA: Yeah. I mean, to the second half of that question, I don't rely a lot on pitches.

    [00:04:19] BB: Okay. Honest answer. 


    "There's a specific type of pitch I really like. Like I appreciate when universities send me press releases about research from their academics or from their labs because a lot of the time, what I'm looking for is what is the most recent piece in a medical journal or the study that is still ongoing that can give us a better idea of an answer to a question."


    [00:04:53] BB: Okay. So you – Okay. We like academics. Anything else then because you did just say you're not – You don't clearly get much out of pitches. But then, oh, how would you like a pitch to be presented to you?

    [00:05:06] TA: Yeah. It's an interesting question. I like when pitches take into account what I'm reporting on. So prior to doing this, I was looking through my inbox, and I got –

    [00:05:22] BB: Yes, give us something live. 

    [00:05:24] TA: I got – I did get one pitch yesterday about Adderall and Ritalin shortages and trying to connect me with two co-founders of a company to speak about the ongoing issue of Adderall shortages across the country. I did just write about that in the fall, and it is still very much a problem, not just for Adderall but for other drugs. I mean, I am interested in doing a follow up on that. 

    So I think the tough thing is I'm often looking for researchers, less for like companies or medical technology or products really that will often come through my inbox, so yeah.


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    Subject Lines That Work

    [00:09:12] BB: That's true. That's true. You don't want to – Yeah, see. This is a slippery path. Okay. So given that you open every email, Teddy, do you care about what the subject line says?

    [00:09:23] TA: I don't really, no. I mean, I like straight subject lines.

    [00:09:28] BB: Okay. Straight, direct. Got it. 

    [00:09:30] TA: So study shows. 

    [00:09:32] BB: Yes. Study shows X.

    [00:09:33] TA: Yeah. Yeah. Then I like it when it's like a published study that's been peer-reviewed. That's great. That doesn't always happen.

    [00:09:40] BB: Academia. Yeah. 

    [00:09:45] TA: But, yeah, you're right. I don't spend too much time on subject lines.

    [00:09:48] BB: Yeah. Because you read every email. Amazing. So even though that is the case, are there any recent emails, pitches that you've received where you go, “Wow, that was pretty. I like that subject line,” like point to you a person? 

    [00:10:05c] TA: Well, I guess I was just getting into it. I got an email from one university. I think this was also yesterday:


    "Study shows that just one quality conversation with a friend boosts daily wellbeing." 


    [00:10:20] BB: Yes, I would agree with that. 

    [00:10:22] TA: I've been writing about friendship and the health benefits around friendship recently. There is a lot of peer-reviewed research showing why it's so important to have good friends. So it’s definitely up my alley, and I'm grateful that that person pitched that email. I don't know if I'm going to write about it now because I just wrote about that topic. But it's helpful to know.

    [00:10:46] BB: Yeah. Then you have it. So perhaps three months later, it comes back around, something like that.


    Rapid Fire Pitching Preferences

    [00:16:17] BB: Okay, Teddy. We have a little rapid fire section here, which is just either or. So are you ready for this? 

    TA: Yeah. Okay. Sure. 

    BB: Okay. Here we go. Video or phone interview? 

    • TA: Phone. 

    BB: Bullet points or paragraphs? 

    • TA: Bullet points. 

    BB: Short or long pitches? 

    • [00:16:42] TA: Short. 
    • [00:16:43] BB: How short?
    • [00:16:44] TA: I think a paragraph. 

    BB: Images attached or Dropbox zip file?

    • TA: We're just not usually dealing too much with images, so I don't have a strong opinion.

    BB: Pitches in the morning or evening or who cares?

    • TA: Oh, I guess the morning. But, yeah, I’d say morning. 

    BB: Email or Twitter DM?

    • TA: I also check a lot of my Twitter DMs, but email would be better. I’m going to forget about Twitter. 

    BB: Oh. Well, we already know the answer but just to emphasize. One follow up or multiple?

    •  TA: Oh, yeah. No, yeah. You don't have to follow up with me.

    BB: Direct or creative subject lines? 

    • TA: I like direct. Yeah.

    BB: Press release or media kit?

    • TA: Press release I would say.




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    Kendall Aldridge

    Kendall began her journey at OnePitch as an intern in January of 2019 and is now the Marketing Manager handling all of the marketing efforts ranging from social media to content, and emails. She studied communications at San Diego State University and enjoys drawing, being outside, and practicing yoga in her free time.

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