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50 Journalist Quotes from Coffee with a Journalist

50 Journalist Quotes From Coffee With A Journalist

OnePitch was founded with the goal to connect PR professionals and journalists and start great conversations. When we started our Coffee with a Journalist podcast, we wanted to create a show where we could sit down with journalists from various types of outlets and learn more about their work, how they craft stories, and how PR pros can best serve their coverage. We are so excited to reach another milestone and have aired our 50th episode of season 2! From how our guests find stories and manage pitches to their predictions on the future of journalism, here are 50 journalist quotes from season 2 of Coffee with a Journalist.

Let’s dive in:

1. Alex Wilhelm, TechCrunch

“Companies who share revenue growth numbers are more interesting than those who don’t. Companies who share hard revenue numbers are the most interesting, but everyone’s is, well, I’m private.”

2. Ann-Marie Alcántara, The Wall Street Journal

“I am in this Slack group with a bunch of people who are in the space, like founders, CMOs, etc. They’re always chatting about the industry and that’s a really good insight for me to see how they’re thinking about it, what positions they want to hire for next.”

3. Alex Kantrowitz, BuzzFeed

“Anyone who’s in this business and is shy is going to ultimately close themselves off for opportunities for good stories. Anyone who’s in this business and isn’t curious is going to close themselves off to opportunities for good stories.”

4. David Ingram, CNBC

“I think, as journalists, we’re all increasingly looking for the original stories based on original reporting. Which, that’s the harder story to do for sure, but I think that’s where the past of journalism and the future of journalism is.”

5. Gabriela Barkho, Modern Retail

“I think there’s a lot of stories to be told despite a lot of hardships. I think it’s still exciting because I think for the first time, at least since I’ve been a reporter… people are just more willing to hear out different types of stories.”

6. Max Willens, Digiday

“I think what it really boils down to is that it’s really kind of a mostly a relationships thing. I can count on zero fingers the number of times someone that I don’t know has called me and said, I’ve got a great idea for you that has never gone well.”

7. Alex Heath, The Information

“I mean for pitching, it’s interesting. I would encourage people to be creative… I would also encourage PR people to not think purely transactionally in terms of pitch equals a story that I’m trying to pitch.”

8. Natasha Mascarenhas, Crunchbase News

“I feel like most of my favorite story ideas have come from basically walking around and having a conversation. And the conversation is probably not going to be what the story idea ends up being, but something about a turn of phrase or a billboard inspires me to pick up a story.”

9. Jacob Krol, CNN Underscored

“I definitely enjoy the pitches. I think it kind of helps to get the ideas flowing. Cause sometimes you can get so segmented and just like one area.”

10. Brenda Stolyar, Mashable

“I think we’re seeing a lot of journalists becoming the face of the actual publications. I think with social media playing such a huge role in our coverage, we’re seeing that it’s not just the journalists’ written work, it’s a lot of who they are as a person and how they inject that into their work.”

11. Adam Popescu, New York Times Contributor

“When I tackle a subject or a source, I want to show an audience either an element of that person that they may not have seen or to share a moment in that person’s life that was transformational, that brought them to where they are, or just really be immersive and be visual with the writing so that a reader feels like they’re there.”

12. Sara Jerde, Adweek

“When everyone’s comfortable with you, something that they may throw away at the end of the conversation may lead to some really good story ideas.”

13. Alana Hope Levinson, MEL Magazine

“I always encourage the reporters I work with and tell them that, a lot of times, their best stories are happening in their own communities or in their families, in their own life history.”

14. Eugene Kim, Business Insider

“But as long as it’s new and original, I think a lot of readers find it useful… A lot of these things, they don’t announce it. It’s not public information. So if you talk to a lot of people, a lot of sellers, you’ll find something interesting to write about.”

15. Robert Archer, CE Pro Magazine

“For me, it’s all about servicing the reader, providing the reader the information that they find relevant to help their business.”

16. Katharine Schwab, Fast Company

Even though the pandemic has ruined our events business to some degree, as it has for every media company, we have done some virtual events and that has been really exciting… It was a bit of an experiment for us, but it turned out we had really, really great conversations, and that gives me some hope that the events piece of journalism will kind of continue even through the pandemic.”

17. Macy Williams, PopSugar

“Do as many internships as you can. That’s my number one recommendation to anyone breaking into journalism. Participate in your college publication. One, internship, unfortunately, isn’t enough anymore because everyone’s doing them. You need to do a few.”

18. Joshua Pinkay, Obvious Magazine

“Pitch me all you want. Tell me that you’re a great actress or that you are a singer, or that you’re this or you’re that. But I need to see another layer to that. I need to see another layer to your talent. What is your talent doing? Or what are you doing, rather, to create some form of social impact?”

19. Joel Shannon, USA Today

“I need to see it’s trending on Twitter or, in theory, possibly I’ve gotten 15 pitches about that. I want to hear about it from multiple sources and that tells me this is a buzzy topic.”

20. Katherine Foley, Quartz

“Sometimes what is service to the reader is a really deep dive on something if it hasn’t been done well before. But sometimes it’s also just short, ‘Here’s what you need to know, take that as what you need and go about your day.’ Not every great story has to be 3000 words or more.”

21. Ben Schiller, CoinDesk

“It is very frustrating to receive a PR pitch where people don’t explain in the first line who they are and what their kind of perspective is…I think almost as important as the pitch itself is to really clarify what your credentials are and what your perspective is.”

22. Ilyse Liffreing, Ad Age

“I was told not to go into this field by a lot of people, including my professors at NYU when I was in grad school… even at our graduation speech, one of the professors was like, ‘Congratulations everybody, on graduating! But, only a couple of you will actually become journalists.'”

23. Rob Pegoraro, Fast Company

“I definitely should have been smarter about taking advantage of social media to promote my work, and to make sure that you have some sort of independent identity. You cannot count on your employer to do your marketing for you, because they may not be around.”

24. Samson Amore, TheWrap

“You kind of have to weed out the people who actually are experts in their field and then the other people who are just pitching themselves just because they have nothing else to do. And people, especially legal experts, are very forthcoming usually in saying, ‘Hey, I know what’s going on here. Let me translate for you,’ which, I love.”

25. Mary Ann Azevedo, FinLedger

“I always ask people, ‘Is there something I haven’t asked that it’s important for me to know?’ Or, ‘What do you think is really important for my readers to understand?’ Maybe I’ll only use 40 or 50% of what we talked about, but those tidbits that are fascinating are really interesting. They’re the ones that develop into the good stories.”

26. Olivia Solon, NBC News

What does seem to be happening particularly in the US is this consolidation of power media players and then the sort of dying off of local journalism, which I think is a huge shame…So it’s weird because there’s simultaneously some of the best work happening.”

27. Kate Clark, The Information

“I mean, even if it’s a boring conversation, you can still usually get an idea. And then the best conversations, the best sources, you’ll come out of a conversation, even just a 20-minute conversation, with five or six potential stories. Yeah, that’s when I fall into it.”

28. Peter Adams, Marketing Dive

“There’s plenty of analysis out there. It’s as important as ever. Getting to the truth of the matter, even though the scrutiny is so much higher, it kind of reinforces being a good, diligent watchdog for institutions is invaluable.”

29. John Biggs, Gizmodo

“Some of my favorite pitches are just like people that I kind of recognize, maybe I do, maybe I don’t, who say like, ‘Hey, this is an interesting thing. Would you like to take a look?'”

30. Aaron Pressman, Fortune

“It seems like some of the big, great journalism institutions, like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, are doing very well, even in these tough times. I think smaller creators are finding ways to make, whether it’s newsletters with subscriptions or podcasts with advertising. So I’m feeling a little better about the big picture, and a little more worried about my local picture.”

31. Maya Shwayder, Contributor

I will say for a lot of places I’ve worked and this is true I think for a lot of journalists, we all work in service of the demon, that is the internet these days, and the internet is a content monster and you always just need to be turning out content. If you ever defeat this monster, you can only mildly satisfy it for a day.”

32. Julia Boorstin, CNBC

To me, it’s really about integrating the stuff I get in pitches with the news cycle and things that are happening… So being able to take things that are in the news, do the breaking news, and then figure out how to take the story one step further and advance it.”

33. Jennifer Ortakales Dawkins, Business Insider

“Digital is the future. And unfortunately, print is just never going to be the same… something that we’ve even seen at Business Insider is our subscription just growing so much, that really indicates to us that people are willing to pay for high-quality journalism and inside information if there’s a story that hasn’t been told from any other outlet.”

34. David Jeans, Forbes

“If I look across my inbox over a week and I get three emails from different companies and they’re all launching similar products or announcing similar news, it might prompt me to think, ‘Well hey, there’s a trend here,’ or there’s something going on that speaks to a broader issue that could warrant a potential story.”

35. Mohana Ravindranath, Politico

“I am listening to what my sources in the field are saying, and I’m listening to what people are talking about… Part of my job as a journalist is to separate what’s buzzy and what’s getting a lot of attention, from what actually warrants their attention and oversight.”

36. Michael Liedtke, Associated Press

“You need to do everything now. You’re not just going to be a word guy or a picture guy… You have to be a jack-of-all-trades more than ever, I think, is going to be the future.”

37. Erin Griffith, The New York Times

“I’ve got themes around an IPO folder, a moral turpitude folder, a folder of recruiters because those are always good sources… They often know when a company has to raise money because they’re hiring, and they know if there’s a bunch of layoffs, or if a bunch of high-profile people are starting to flee a start-up.”

38. Caroline Haskins, BuzzFeed News

“I’m a big fan of like FOIAs and FOILs, which means like state and federal level public record requests because that’s a great way to really get the raw material, which is pretty exciting and cool.”

39. Christine Hall, Crunchbase News

“I hope that there are lots of students, people like me when I was in elementary school, in middle school, and high school, that are like, ‘Oh, I love learning about things and writing about it and helping people understand.'”

40. Sissi Cao, Observer

Some people call it data journalism, some people call it interactive storytelling. A lot of journalists nowadays actually need to take coding classes in college, to, at least understand the basics of it, even though you’re not creating those pages yourself. That’s also going to be part of the future when writers get more technical and just get more and more comfortable with computers.”

41. Bryan Walsh, Axios

“The internet, I think is it’s a very winner-take-all platform, which means that’s actually good for consumers in the sense of what they’re getting with the access you’re able to get that just wasn’t possible 30 years ago, but that’s going to be tough for the viability of a lot of people within this business.”

42. Dom Nicastro, CMSWire

If you can connect me with people, not companies, but people who are experienced in an area that my website cares about, it’s that easy… You know, the best line I’ve ever heard from a PR professional one, was, ‘Dom, can I source any of your stories?'”

43. Brit Morse, Inc.

“I really find it interesting what people are doing with newsletters, what people are doing with subtext, I think is really cool. I’m now getting text messages from journalists now, which I actually really like because I’m not a huge newsletter person.”

44. David Carnoy, CNET

“When you’re in the tech, you have to constantly be in front of readers and constantly being out there… That’s why I refer to it a little bit more as ‘churnalism’ churning stuff out.”

45. Alejandro de la Garza, TIME

I think people are coming around to the idea that like reporting isn’t free and reporting on the Internet isn’t free. And I think that people are finding ways to navigate their different niches.”

46. Heather Somerville, The Wall Street Journal

“Quarantine taught me that being a good reporter, you still need to show up places physically. You’ve got to go places. You’ve got to see people. You’ve got to watch their body language. You’ve got to show them who you are through your body language and your physical presence.”

47. Mar Masson Maack, The Next Web

“I’m trying to kind of encourage startup founders to… share the lessons they’ve learned. Try to talk about something that isn’t your product and I think it will still pay off in the end… I think this type of thought leadership can get you a long way.”

48. Emily Canal, Insider

“If they don’t know me, a subject line that will tell me enough of the story or at least be in the same vein of stuff that I cover. I like specificity when it comes to the subject lines. If the subject line says ‘interesting business story for you,’ I’m probably not going to click on it.”

49. Lydia Dishman, Fast Company

I also think that there’s less of an opportunity to make mistakes. By that I mean, A, it’s very easy to fact check things, but I think that our culture now is going to be less forgiving of lazy journalism in that your sources, your stories need to be as diverse as your audience.”

50. Tomio Geron, Protocol

“One piece of advice for aspiring journalists: Always get the person’s cell phone number.”


50 episodes down, many more to come. Special thanks to every journalist who’s joined the podcast to lay down their insights and know-how. To get updates on new episodes each week, subscribe to the Coffee with a Journalist podcast today! If you’re looking to pitch one of these incredible journalists, be sure to read our complete guide to pitching the media and follow us on Twitter for the latest tips, tricks, and tools on all things PR.



Mathew Cruz

Mathew started at OnePitch in January of 2020 as a Marketing Apprentice. He currently serves as the SEO & Content Marketing Specialist handling content creation from social media to the OnePitch blog. Mathew studied Integrated Marketing Communications at San Diego State University. In his free time, he loves creating art, visiting museums, and traveling.

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