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Coffee with a Journalist: Toby Bochan, CoinDesk

Coffee With A Journalist: Toby Bochan, CoinDesk

Our guest joining us today on Coffee with a Journalist is Toby Bochan from CoinDesk. Toby is the managing editor of Learn and educational content at CoinDesk. Click below to follow Toby Bochan on Twitter and LinkedIn.

During the episode, Toby talks about how pitches help her learn what’s happening in the crypto space, the plethora of NFT pitches landing in her inbox, her advice for pitching multiple journalists’ exclusives, and more.

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


Her Inbox & Pitches

[00:02:37] BB: The realm of crypto is now massive, so hence this now outlet just for crypto, and it’s wide and vast. Great, great outlet if you want to learn anything soup to nuts on the crypto industry and so forth. How, Toby, does your inbox look these days?

[00:02:54] TB: Well, I’ve got it down to like today, I haven’t had a lot of time to go through it. But I am like a person who likes to clean out my inbox. So I have 15 unread emails right now. But I also am a person who has the sort through, so I have the promotions. So I have the primary promotions. So I don’t even count the promotions one in that.

 [00:03:16] BB: Yes. Wait, wait. Wait, wait. Did you say 15 or 15 –

 [00:03:20] TB: Yeah, 15. No, only 15 that are in the primary that I haven’t read.

“I’m still sort of using pitches to see like what are the common things that people are saying and what makes something really unique in the space.”

 [00:03:43] BB: Okay, gotcha. Then for those 15 that are sitting in your inbox right now/the other inbox, are they a lot of pitches? Is it your reporters? Because you’re editor, so that adds another layer of complexity. How would you describe it?

 [00:03:58] TB: So we use Slack a lot for communication in the team. So that really cuts down on the inbox corner, and I love it. I’m a huge fan of Slack as a communication, and I use that also with the freelancers I use regularly. So I invite them into Slack conversations there, so yeah.

 [00:04:14] BB: With the freelancer. Oh, smart, smart, smart.

 [00:04:17] TB: I only do that with regular freelancers, but they are people I brought into that community. But you sort of have to like keep that gate a little bit closed for everybody. So it’s a lot of still like communications. Once I’ve started a conversation with somebody externally, that’s a lot of the things I have to reply to freelancers, who I don’t have handed in drafts or asking questions about drafts handed in, communications around like stories that I may have said, “Oh, yeah. We’re going to send somebody or we’re going to cover,” so people are following up on that. That’s what’s in.

 Then meeting requests and stuff like that just end up in that box too. Yeah. But it’s a lot of – Anytime I’m working on a larger project with a larger group at CoinDesk, usually there’s stuff that ends up threading through there that – Because if they’re not on the editorial team, like if I’m working with this product or the graphic designer, like that will often have to sort of end up in my inbox. Yeah.

 But the promotions is where a lot of the pitches end up. But I do go through it. I just don’t always mark it. So I do scan through every day and try to at least see what’s come through, what people are pitching, and what sort of – That’s also where newsletters a lot go. I do love to read newsletters, and I do love that Google is smart enough to know when I read a newsletter every day, and that goes, and then it sends it into my like primary folder.

 [00:05:38] BB: Oh, I didn’t know it did that. That’s good to know. Okay. I like your utilization, one, of Slack, big time, including your freelancers and then the primary pattern recognizing that Gmail can do. Oh, that’s good. So do you open all pitches, Toby?

 [00:05:53] TB: No, I definitely don’t. But I try to look at them, especially because – I’ll tell you what. I only started working in cryptocurrency about a year ago now. So I still find pitches as a way to learn what’s going on, and I do want to take the time to – If something catches my interest, I want to read what it’s about what they’re doing, and it helps me to gauge sort of what is happening because it’s an incredibly noisy space. Some of it is – That’s the only way I’ll hear about it because that’s sort of the blunt instrument that a lot of new projects are using or people are trying to get noticed.

 Sometimes, I do find something interesting that just sort of piques my interest in those pitches. Then there are people who I work with. I look for names I know or people that I sort of know that they work with a company or a project that I have covered before. So I want to see what’s new.


Her Thoughts on Exclusives & Embargoes

[00:09:11] BB: Do you Toby, hot topic, like exclusives or embargoes?

 [00:09:16] TB: I do. I definitely put embargo or exclusive in front of it. It’s more likely that I’ll read it. I will tell you, one of the things that’s interesting about how our inboxes work these days is I’ve had, even in my short time here, employees who have come and gone. Because I’m the managing editor of these departments, their emails filter into me. So sometimes, I’ll see. If you’re giving someone an exclusive, I’ll sometimes see an exclusive come to me and somebody who used to work for me, and that is not great.

 So if you’re giving someone an exclusive and I guess we’re still all at CoinDesk and they’re trying to reach them, but it does sort of raise a red flag, like how exclusive is this offer.

 [00:09:53] BB: Okay. Yeah. This is always like such a talking point. I don’t know why because it should just be you just get the story. You just have it. So there’s that.

 [00:10:05] TB: When it really is exclusive, I am – I definitely do want to see like is it something that we want to cover, and what is the length of the exclusive? Like how long will we have it, and who else will be offered if we don’t take it? Because, obviously I want to break stories and have that kind of credibility. Like that really is we want to be known as the people who have scooped an, so certainly important to us.


Her Thoughts on Subject Lines

[00:10:29] BB: Yes. Okay. Good to know. Do you have any subject lines that you like absolutely love?

 [00:10:35] TB: I like when people know that I do primarily focus on the Learn or Web3 stuff. So like they’re sort of like if they are calling out like this is a new thing that’s relevant to me, I mean, the words like exclusive, embargo are good, but like keep it simple. If there’s somebody famous involved, I’m interested in that. People do click on – For instance, there’s a project called Doodles. It’s an NFT thing, and Raul announced this, the like new creative director. I’m like, “That’s interesting.” When big games get involved in crypto, that’s still pretty newsworthy.

“My two main topics at CoinDesk, I oversee all the education and Learn content. So I’m constantly learning and seeing what’s out there. But I’m also overseeing a lot of our new Web3 content.”

 [00:11:07] BB: Yeah, it is. Yeah.

 [00:11:09] TB: Celebrity stuff is certainly of interest, so yeah. Definitely call those out in the subject line.

 [00:11:14] BB: Put the celebrity. Drop it in the line. But you then better be telling a real story or like really have it because I’ve heard people using subject lines that are not telling the truth. Then it’s like a bait and switch, which really is a bad look. So we don’t want any of that.

 [00:11:28] TB: Exactly. So don’t just throw celebrities’ names in there because like Paris Hilton has done stuff with crypto and NFTs.




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

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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.

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