Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Secrets to Media Placement In Entertainment

EPPS Workshop In Hollywood

By George McQuade, West Coast Bureau

“We need your story pitches two weeks in advance,” said Marcella Isaza, the Los Angeles based entertainment producer for the Associated Press Television News (APTV). Isaza was among a large panel of minority media editors at a recent (April 17, 2008) Entertainment Publicists Professional Society (EPPS) media workshop at ICG Publicists conference room in Hollywood.

Marcella Isaza, APTV

“At APTV you have to pitch stories that are important to the entire world,” explained Isaza. “Because of that we need to focus on artists or actors, who already have somewhat of a reputation. It can be any entertainment event or awards show, but it has to have significant artist.”

APTV serves about 5,000 radio and 550 International broadcasters who receive AP's global video news service. “So when we publish your story, half the planet will hear or see it,” said she said. APTV has four different divisions and pitches should go to;; and general entertainment to Isaza warns that,” we need b-roll, so you need to send your music video ahead of the story event, or if your artists is performing we need to cover that so keep all those essential elements in mind before you pitch. Or if a music video is in the works that will help.”

Isaza covers all aspects of entertainment ranging from major red carpet events and award shows to film, TV, music, fashion and features. Marcela’s coverage for the AP is world wide including both TV and online clients. She handles most of the Latin broadcast coverage for television in the Western United States. “Isaza reminds PR Pros to keep in mind essentials of lighting, noise and deadlines for TV shooting (minimum of two weeks).”

“We are a major metropolitan newspaper in the second market of the country, and it happens to be published in Spanish,” said Antonio Mejias-Rentas is the entertainment editor at La Opinion, the nation's largest Spanish-language newspaper and flagship publication of the Impremedia chain. “Since we are the second largest paper in this market, we are understaffed,” he said.

Antonio Mejias Rentas

Rentas said all entertainment pitches should be directed to him, a month notice, and overnight, because he reads his several hundred emails between 7:00 – 10:00 a.m. and between 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. and at home. Email: “We cover music, TV and film and we look at different genres and like most entertainment publications we are celebrity driven,” he noted. “The Spanish language is a major driving factor, especially Television in the stories we do. To a lesser degree, we cover Latinos, who are doing things in the English language.” Under his leadership, La Opinion recently transformed the daily entertainment-only section into the new Hola LA, which now includes lifestyle features, food, fashion and health.

A. Scott Galloway &
Marsella Isaza

“Urban Network is a magazine that primarily started out for the industry (entertainment) itself,” explained A. Scott Galloway, music editor, Urban Network. “It is only recently that the magazine has grown into a consumer oriented publication. So right now we are broadening our scope of things that we cover. We tried to target a balance of things that are both popular and stories that need to be brought to the attention of our readers on a wider basis. So we use major stories to bring people into the magazine so they can learn about lesser known topic that we want them to know about.” Galloway prefers an email pitch first:

Following professional stints as a drummer, in-store Music Buyer for Wherehouse Entertainment, music librarian for LA radio station KUTE-FM "The Quiet Storm" and music director of Teleprograms’ internationally syndicated weekly radio program “Fusion 40,” Galloway segued into music journalism via the industry publication Urban Network as music editor. For the last 20 years he has interviewed hundreds of artists and industry professionals, as well as reviewed thousands of concerts, albums and singles.

Billy Johnson, Jr. Yahoo! Music

"We give priority to artists our users are searching for. We get an update every Wednesday on the music side, and on the regular (search engine) Yahoo! side, we get daily statistics of who are the most searched music artists," said Billy Johnson Jr., who authors Yahoo! Music Blog, Hip Hop Media Training, which averages 1.1 million page views per month. "We feature about 10 artists per month in our various taped programs, and we need at least one month notice. We also feel that we have an obligation to cover new artists," he said.

Johnson leads video programming for Yahoo! Music, including overseeing the daily music video premieres program. Throughout his 18 years of journalism experience, he has served as a freelance reporter for Entertainment Weekly, Hollywood Reporter, Vibe Magazine, The Source Magazine and Rap Sheet to name a few. Billy has also served as a Music expert on CNN, VH1, TV Guide Channel, Fox News and ABC.

Lee Bailey,

“Since our audience is urban/black, we’re looking for events, issues that matter to our audience, in particular our audience is 25 to 45 and 60 percent women,” said Lee Bailey, Rabercom Enterprises, a communications company he founded and built on the successful standards of purposes, vision, and drive. Bailey, always had an attraction to radio, which landed him in the radio business for two decades and in 1983, Lee premiered his flagship syndicated radio program, “RadioScope: the Entertainment Magazine of the Air” in 35 us markets.

Panelists answer questions

“A basic approach is pitches and stories that relate to women and our specific target audience,” said Bailey, who produces RadioScope. Today, RadioScope is aired in over 40 US markets and in over 70 countries. In addition to radio programming, Lee introduced its online publication, The Electronic Urban Report (EUR).

Cleveland O'Neal, Connection III

"At Connection III Entertainment Corp, our Flagship program Made In Hollywood, which airs on ABC, CBS, Fox, UPN and CW networks, and KCAL-TV Ch,.9, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. every Saturday, there is a 3.8 million viewer average nationwide. Cleveland O’Neal is founder and President/CEO of Connection III Entertainment Corp., an award-winning, Emmy-nominated media producer-syndicator that creates, produces, distributes, markets and brands its library of multicultural, multimedia programming, online and offline, while providing access to advertisers, corporate sponsors, and licensees desiring to reach multicultural markets. “I too prefer email pitches and a two weeks notice. Since we have multicultural ownership, we are always sensitive to multicultural projects. So we cover the general market, but also African American and multicultural markets, too.”

Jorge Usatorres fields
questions from PR Pros.

“We speak 85 percent English on a Latino radio station, and our audience is mostly Latinos learning to speak Spanish, they speak and understand English, but they don’t necessarily speak Spanish, so it is a niche market,” said Jorge “JT” Usatorres, morning show producer, Latino 96.3 FM KXOL. Usatorres said, his day begins at 3:00 AM – and ends at 10:00. “What happens in Hollywood, is they do not offer us a story, because they think we only do Spanish. We can take a small story and spin it into a big one. Our audience doesn’t just live in Compton and speak Spanish,” he said. Usatorres prefers a phone call first from PR Pros, and then he’ll tell you if he wants an email at:

Jorge “JT” Usatorres, KXOL

A Cuban born Miami Native, Jorge has worked at top radio broadcast centers such as Hot 105 (WHQT) and Power 965 (WPOW) in Miami, Florida. He joined Spanish Broadcasting Systems in May 05’, as The New Latino 963 FM emerged onto the market place, bringing with him a multitude of different character voices and is now the executive producer of The Morning Invasion morning show at LATINO 963 FM. He is more director/producer than just producer. He squeezes the juice out one drop at a time and on live radio that’s not easy.

Publicist query media panel

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Monday, April 7, 2008

"21st Century Hollywood Reporter"

Elizabeth Guider, Editor
Hollywood Reporter

The Hollywood Reporter Getting
Ready For Redesigned Format
Tells Entertainment Publicists
No More Self Serving Stories

By George McQuade, West Coast Bureau

“We are going to have a new look to our paper, and much more clearer,” said Editor Elizabeth Guider, Hollywood Reporter, at a recent (March 20, 2008) Entertainment Publicists Professional Society (EPPS) media workshop at ICG Publicists conference room in Hollywood.

Guider, who noted that the Hollywood Reporter has seen double digit growth since she came on board lead a panel of how publicists can best work with them. Guider was joined by TV Editor, Nellie Andreeva and Film Editor, Greg Kilday and the session was moderated by Hanna Pantle, AVP, Corporate and Media Relations at BMI.

“We are about serving the reader, said Guider who joined the Hollywood Reporter in August 2007 as Editor and since then the paper has launched an East Coast edition, made enhancements to its Web site including several new blogs and has introduced an Asia-centric separate site for entertainment stories related to that region.

Nellie Andreea & Elizabeth Guider

Elizabeth's team is now about to unveil a totally new look for the paper, which will include several new elements. Before joining the Hollywood Reporter, Guider spent 15 years with Variety and worked as a reporter and an editor in Europe as well as in New York and Los Angeles.

“We want to bring the paper into the 21st century.” Readers want humor, insight, news, and analysis. No more “How thrilled everyone is…”. Expanding the front pages so there are less jump pages. Pacing is quicker. More thought going into the stories upfront. More features that explain how things work, or have an interesting back-story. “We belong to the Nielson Company – they have vaults of data so we’d like to do more stories that relate to the data.”

The Hollywood Reporter is a daily M-F, and Friday’s edition is called the International Weekend Edition making that edition the one that will be read overseas, where guider says has grown to 14 writers. There is now a New York edition with more stories about what’s happening on the East Coast and Bureau Chiefs in London and Beijing. Guider said it is different from the Los Angeles print edition and she notice when visiting corporate offices in New York the Hollywood Reporter was rarely seen in the waiting room. That has since changed. Their website continues to grow with even more interplay between the print and online coverage. Already making a major push in Asia with a dedicated website. The paper’s stories have a wide reach beyond the industry being distributed by Reuters at the end of each day.

Elizabeth Guider, Editor

Guider emphasized, “Part of your job is to distinguish the level of importance.” They advised in terms of dealing with the newsroom the morning is really crucial. “We are living in a 24 hour world, deadlines are constant. Get it to us as early as possible.” Andreeva admitted, “We can be cranky, especially if you call in the afternoon. In the morning we’re very mellow.” Pitch it short and succinctly, give us the bullet points, and keep it “newsy”. It helps to, “Let us know if there are people you can make available for the story.” In the longer view they like to be part of an ongoing conversation.

“We have an incredibly talented team at The Hollywood Reporter,” said Guider. “The big goal is to have the paper have a voice that is recognized as the Hollywood Reporter’s voice.”

Need an angle: Rule of thumb for film is when it’s acquired for distribution or gets into a major festival or when a story has a happy ending because that is the Hollywood dream. “We have staff to cover awards and festivals as well as our online staff.” Or start with the person that you have a relationship with and then copy the appropriate person. You can also contact key people saying, “Please relay to the appropriate person.” If it’s a big story keep Guider in the loop.

Greg Kilday, Film Editor

Gregg Kilday is film editor of the Hollywood Reporter. “All of our stories are offered to Reuters, especially the international stories because there is a growing demand on the internet. Readers want to know the insight, the humor and cut to the chase of the story, which is why we will not be covering every story such as who got the job who got thrown out and so on,” he explained. “We preferred email and two minute voicemails are deadly. Publicist attending the Cannes Film Festival should find out which reporters are attending and contact them ahead of time.”

Kilday has been film editor since 2001, and he oversees the papers daily news coverage of the film business. A veteran journalist, Kilday has worked for the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and Entertainment Weekly and has also freelanced for such publications as Premiere, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone and Esquire. A native of Boston, he graduated from Harvard College in 1972.

Nellie Andreeva

“Our big goal is to have a voice you can recognize, a Hollywood voice,” said Nellie Andreeva, TV editor, Hollywood Reporter, a position to which she was named in June 2004. “During the Writers Guild of America strike there were people going through the picket lines. We tried to be objective as possible, because we knew there was a lot of coordination to get things down in Hollywood. It was a great learning experience of behind the scenes. It was a big impact on television program and stories we covered, and we’re still finishing stories on the TV side.”

“Fashion can’t be all things to all people,” not Andreeva when asked how to get stories related to fashion in the Hollywood Reporter. “I think the media and entertainment needs to be defined especially when it comes to television. Fashion plays a big role and we are interested in those stories. Showbiz has become much more global. We are going to see much shorter stories and more of them, because Hollywood is one of the global players.”

Andreeva joined the Hollywood Reporter in 2000 as a TV reporter. Before that, she worked as a reporter at Investor's Business Daily and freelanced for Business Week. Andreeva has master’s degrees in journalism and physics from University of Maine and University of Sofia, Bulgaria. “India, Europe and China are power influence and we will be seeing more of those stories in the future.”

“My day begins at the crack of down, because we have 30 correspondents around the world with bureaus in London and Beijing posting stories directly to the Internet,” explained Guider. “We have about 14 writers working the Asian market and we just put up a separate Hollywood Reporter Asian website. If there is a big story brewing it will likely make the paper by 3:00 or 4:00 p.m. International deadlines on Thursday and Friday are the same as New York, which is Thursday morning before noon for Friday editors. The New York printed version has a different feel than the LA version. More East Coast stories. The International Weekend edition features more Q&A’s and more global news,” Guider said.

Guider, Editor Hollywood Reporter

The redesign of the Hollywood Reporter is coming this spring, but “when we are ready,” said Guider. “It will bring the paper into the 21st Century with different and better stories, moving away form just putting the stories wherever in the paper. We want to make sure we have cover what’s important to film readers that they are not already getting in a fun and intelligent way. We will also rethink the front page, the length, tilt of the stories. Not every story will get 15-20 lines. The clips and digest section will run on the inside of the paper on the top of the page. We will not jump very many stories to other pages. A recent Wall Street Journal survey found only 2.3 percent of the readers read jump stories, noted Guider.”

Inside secret for pitching editors: Pitch Film Editor Kilday, but cc Guider, too, and ditto for pitching TV stories to Andreea, because Guider wants to know, too. After your email pitch follow-up with a short phone call t ensure the right person got your info.

Additionally, stories of weirdness, originality, or buzz at a Sundance will like get more attention, such as the most view piece on YouTube. Anything local, that gets picked up by a major distributor should be pitched. And even thought the news release has not been signed off by everyone at Disney, the panel suggests publicist give editors an early heads up like the day before that a major announcement is coming. And of course The Hollywood Reporter editors love exclusives.

All the editors and writers prefer an email pitch first, and a follow-up call later, especially if it is a big story. Mornings are the best time to pitch stories.
Email Elizabeth Guider at:
Nellie Andreeva at:
Greg Kilday at:

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