My Day Job, Explained

Sunday, February 1, 2015

My day job isn't easy to explain, even to other people in the media. Since 2005, I've been the editor of Bulldog Reporter's Inside Health Media, a trade publication for PR people in health and medicine. It's even more specialized than the name would indicate: Almost all of my coverage is based on interviews with health journalists who discuss their work and their preferences for dealing with PR professionals.

Newspaper

I've spoken with journalists at high-profile outlets like The New York Times, and ones that are not so well known, such as Medicare Secondary Payer and Predictive Modeling News. I've done pieces on Yoga Journal and Vegetarian Times along with Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News. If someone writes about health in any conceivable way, I'll talk to them.

The journalists who speak with me do so largely from enlightened self-interest. They're often bombarded by email blasts from PR people who have obtained poorly filtered media lists, or who otherwise lack understanding about their work. So they recognize the value of providing this feedback.

Others aren't so open to discussing their work. Some are afraid that it will open them to more unwanted email blasts, or they just have a highly negative attitude toward PR. However, if you're a journalist, you're already in the media directories used by PR people. Talking to me just gives my readers a better sense of where you stand, even if it boils down to "I don't have much use for PR."

It's also worth noting that many of my readers work for academic facilities, and many journalists who are not otherwise receptive to PR don't mind hearing from these folks.

The Bulldog Reporter publications were previously owned by Infocom Group, which ceased operations in fall 2014 after more than 30 years in business. Shortly thereafter, Inside Health Media and certain other Bulldog Reporter assets were acquired by MediaMiser, a company based in Ottawa.

A few other points about my job:

  • Inside Health Media is an online subscription publication, so all content is behind a paywall. I cannot provide links.
  • I'm listed in some media directories as a consumer health or healthcare business journalist, which gives me firsthand knowledge of the crap that often lands in journalists' inboxes. And because I work from a home office, those same directories include my home phone number. On a few occasions, I've gotten early-morning phone calls from PR people on the East Coast who don't know that 510 is a California area code. Needless to say, waking a journalist at 6 a.m. to inform them about an FDA drug approval is not a good way to foster relations with the media.
  • I occasionally write columns for the Daily Dog, an online trade publication for PR people. But as a rule, I do not write about PR agencies or other aspects of the PR business. I often get pitches about account wins, new hires, etc., but that information should go to Daily Dog editor Richard Carufel.
  • On the other hand, I welcome news from PR people who represent media outlets, including those that don't cover health. And I remain as a freelance contributor to HOW Magazine, writing about software tools for graphic designers. If you represent a company in that business, feel free to drop me a note through this contact form.
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