skip to Main Content

Coffee with a Journalist: Melissa Angell, Inc.

Coffee With A Journalist: Melissa Angell, Inc.

Today on Coffee with a Journalist, we’re joined by Melissa Angell, a staff reporter for Inc. Magazine. Melissa has been a reporter for a number of years and with multiple news publications including Law360, American Banker, and TheStreet.

During the episode, Melissa shares an example of a real pitch that led to her attending an event, explains how her inbox contributes to the stories she writes, her top 3 pitching preferences, and more.

Click below to listen to the full conversation and read below for highlights from the interview:

 

Her Thoughts on Follow-Ups

[00:03:15] BB: Okay. So that gets me to the follow up question. Everyone likes that. Do you like follow ups? How many are too follow ups would you say? 

[00:03:23] MA: I don’t mind the follow up because it helps me out a lot of the time. Because we get so many emails on a day-to-day basis, and it’s easy to miss things and especially really just interesting events. So I think if you follow up and it’s on a really timely event, feel free to nudge me that same day, especially if the event is tomorrow.

“Because we get so many emails on a day-to-day basis, and it’s easy to miss things and especially really just interesting events.”

[00:03:46] BB: Okay. So that’s good. Okay. Good to note. Now, do you have like a limit, though? Like you don’t want to have five follow ups or just the one and done is good.

[00:03:54] MA: I think once we passed the three to four threshold, that’s when it starts getting a little bit excessive, right? Third time’s the charm maybe. After that, I’d say let’s maybe settle down there a bit. Try something new.

 

Her Thoughts on Subject Lines

[00:05:25] BB: Then does the subject line prompt you to open? Or are you just like, “Oh, yeah. Let me look at that thing again.” Like how important is the subject line?

[00:05:32] MA: I think the subject line helps get my eyes on it. But I try to also just, even if the subject line doesn’t immediately catch my attention, sometimes people bury the lead, totally understandable. When I have time, I’ll go through just the emails that I’ve received during that day, that week, and kind of try and go and just click through all of them to see if anything’s lurking there as well.

“I think the subject line helps get my eyes on it.”

[00:05:57] BB: Okay. It sounds like you have some system, Melissa. Some system that is working.

[00:06:02] MA: I like to think that.

 

Her Pitching Requests

[00:10:02] BB: Okay. Three elements to a pitch that you want to see, Melissa, what would they be?

“Sometimes, yes. I’ve found some really neat stories from my inbox itself. Even if it’s not a great fit at that moment, sometimes I’ll either tuck it away and kind of think about it for the future.”

[00:10:07] MA: I would say timeliness. Why does this matter now? Then just to step back, why does this matter to our audience specifically? What’s unique about this pitch? Why is this a story in the first place?

 

Her Thoughts on Exclusives & Embargoes

[00:11:44] BB: Yeah, see. It can be done, everybody. Okay. It can be done. I do want to ask about the exclusive embargoes, but I don’t think they pertain to you necessarily, Melissa. But let’s just say. Do you ever get exclusives or embargo pitches?

[00:11:57] MA: I do and I always appreciate receiving an exclusive, given how valued scoops are really in our industry. I’m pretty flexible, though, with embargoes, and I’ll always agree to one. But I think what’s important to remember here is that if you send over an embargoed announcement, it’s always a best practice, in my opinion, to make sure you ask if the recipient is willing to honor that embargo. Because I have friends who are in the industry and someone sends a newsy item. They say it’s under embargo, but they didn’t get the journalist to actually agree to honor that.

“I’m pretty flexible, though, with embargoes, and I’ll always agree to one. But I think what’s important to remember here is that if you send over an embargoed announcement, it’s always a best practice, in my opinion, to make sure you ask if the recipient is willing to honor that embargo.” 

[00:12:28] BB: Agree, exactly. I feel that that is assumed too often. Then there’s dismay when that assumption is not met. But that’s an assumption, and I think that’s the failure of the pitcher to just think like, “Oh, of course.” They’re going to relate to that or honor that, but they haven’t explicitly stated. So that’s a little dangerous, I think. Okay. How should people make relationships with you, Melissa, at this odd time post-pandemic-ish environment? 

[00:13:00] MA: It is a weird time. We thought it wouldn’t be a weird time in 2022, right? But here we are. I am always open to doing just virtual calls. Video calls are fine or – I’ve done virtual coffee, and I know it sounds awkward. But it doesn’t have to be, right? I have started meeting again in person. But I think my personal preference, it definitely will depend also just in terms of what the COVID cases look like in my community. If there’s a huge surge going on right now in New York City, I am less inclined to meet you for coffee than if we could just do the same thing over video.

[00:13:41] BB: So you’re open to the videos, but coffee depending on transmission rate perhaps?

[00:13:46] MA: Yes.

 

________

 

Learn more pitch tips and insights from previous guests on Coffee with a Journalist in our journalist spotlight videos available for free on YouTube.

Want more tips from journalists?

Click below to subscribe to Coffee with a Journalist and receive weekly emails highlighting reporters, journalists, and editors and their individual pitching preferences.

Jered is the co-founder, COO and support manager at OnePitch. He handles operations for OnePitch; along with strategy, support, business development and hiring. He studied Communications with an emphasis in marketing at Cal State University Long Beach. In his free time, he enjoys surfing, eating cheap street food, cooking, and exploring the outdoors.

Back To Top
Search