According to Merriam Webster an Ice breaker is: something said or done that helps people relax and begin talking in a social situation. When it comes to working with new reporters and journalists we know there are many important factors to consider. The way we communicate, the medium we communicate across, and the content we communicate to one another all have an impact on the relationship.

Ben Coxworth recently answered a few questions about pitching, relationships, likes and dislikes, and a few other simple questions that'll help you when, and if, you decided to contact him about a story.

1. A source who wants to get to know me should know…
I like getting everything I need for an article (high-res photos, pricing, availability, etc.) right off the bat, without having to ask for them.
2. The most fascinating person I’ve worked with was…
A local novelist named Minister Faust, because of his keen insights into the human condition.
3. These days, I’ve been pretty obsessed with reading about…
Marine life, in Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”
4. The accomplishment I am most proud of in my writing career is…
Making readers aware of unusual products, research projects, etc that they otherwise would never have heard of.
5. My “kind of sources” are those who…
Provide me with everything I need (see #1), and who know not to pitch things to me that are way outside of New Atlas’ subject area.
6. People would never guess that I’ve written about…
The social significance of hardcore punk rock (university essay).
7. I met my best “PR” friend by…
Receiving their press releases.
8. The most essential part of a working relationship is…
Knowing what one another need, and what they don’t.
9. Please do not send me pitches about…
Anything not relating to science or technology.
10. If I had every publicist’s attention for 30 seconds I would tell them…
We generally turn our articles around very quickly (usually within one day), so please help by streamlining the information-gathering process as much as possible.

Whether you’re in a business or personal setting the same rules apply when it comes to communication and building relationships.

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