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For journalists, email inboxes can be both a treasure trove of story inspiration or a black hole where things enter never to be seen again. There is often an intimate system journalists have for their inbox organization. Every week on our podcast Coffee with a Journalist, we ask our guests about their methods of controlling the madness. Here is what three of our awesome guests had to say:
How do They Stay Organized
The tough part for journalists about having so many emails in their inbox is that it can be overwhelming and hard to track what’s relevant and useful vs what belongs in the trash folder. For Alex Kantrowitz, former reporter for BuzzFeed News, he filters all of his pitches into a PR agency folder. Here’s how:
“I have most PR agency emails filtered into a PR stuff folder. They skip my inbox and they filter into that folder. And so instead of having that sort of take my attention throughout the day, all day long, I’ll go a couple times a day and just kind of take a look through.”
Gabriela Barkho, reporter for Modern Retail, also makes it a point to open and read pitches. We caught up with her as she transitioned to her new role at Modern Retail and here’s what she had to say about this:
“Yeah, I do try to at least open them [emails] and like see, and then I’ll just either leave it in there. I try not to delete them because again, like if you search…I used to be a deleter and then realized I might need them later and I know it’s very selfish but it works for me.”
Gabriela goes on to share about why she opens emails and for her it’s related to the need of reading them. She shared, “Even when they’re literally, I know this is not going to be anything, but I still just open it even if it’s just to like, have it be read, yeah.”
Similar to Gabriela, Ann-Marie Alcantara, reporter for the Wall Street Journal, also makes it a point to read emails ASAP. She said:
“Yeah, I’m probably on the other side of journalists where I have folders for everything, and the only thing that stays in my inbox are stories that are happening this week or they’re magazine stories and I want to make sure I send the clip to whoever I was working with on that story. And yeah, I don’t like to have the crazy 27,000 unread emails because I will get too stressed.”
Ann-Marie went on to share more about how she remembers names and emails in her inbox – not something she recommends either. Ann-Marie Alcantara also shares the number of pitches she receives and how she’s able to prioritize them:
“So, yeah, I mean, I probably get over 100 pitches to my inbox every day, and whenever they’re coming in I can in my head prioritize like, oh, this is actually interesting, but I can respond in an hour, or can respond end of the day, or oh, this is ASAP and I need to do this right now.”
For deeper dives into our conversations beyond inbox organization with Gabriela, Ann-Marie, Alex, and other great journalists, subscribe for the latest episodes!
To make sure your next pitch stands out in an inbox, download a free copy of the PR 101 eBook: The Ultimate Guide to Pitching.