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Coffee with a Journalist: Tom Matsuda, The Block

Coffee With A Journalist: Tom Matsuda, The Block

Our guest on the podcast this week is Tom Matsuda, a fintech reporter at The Block. As a fintech reporter, Tom covers crypto wallets, Asia, and investments. Prior to The Block, Tom reported on neobanks, payment firms and blockchain startups for Sifted.

During the episode, Tom shares about the constant array of crypto news he receives, what kind of information he wants to see in a pitch, his personal thoughts on exclusives, and more.

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


What He Writes About

[00:02:10] BB: Oh, sunny, sunny. Oh. Fabulous. Fabulous. Well, Tom, for those maybe not as familiar and I’m actually asking this of now pretty much any outlet, because there’s many, many media outlets. What is The Block?

[00:02:24] TM: Yeah. The Block is a remote first publication. We cover digital assets with the view that they are a ubiquitous part of our future. It’s basically, anyone who is really interested from investors. They’re just casually looking at the space, that’s working in the space of those even looking to make the jump into the space.

“For me personally though, I’m looking at fintech and what that means, that a crypto publication is that we look at the way crypto intersects with fintech to say, I did a feature on neo-banks that are built on top of decentralized finance rails, or neo-banks are trying to be built on decentralized finance rails.”

[00:02:42] BB: Crypto curious?

[00:02:43] TM: Crypto curious, exactly. Yeah. We hope that we can empower them with knowledge about crypto and then they can make decisions from then on out, alongside having a news team, so we’re really blessed we have a research team who really know that stuff, and we work in symbiosis. Yeah. For me personally though, I’m looking at fintech and what that means, that a crypto publication is that we look at the way crypto intersects with fintech to say, I did a feature on neo-banks that are built on top of decentralized finance rails, or neo-banks are trying to be built on decentralized finance rails. We look at things like a neo-bank opening a crypto exchange that’ll be of interest of us. Or vice versa, say a crypto exchange tries to get a banking license. That would be something I would be interested in.


His Thoughts on Pitches

[00:03:50] BB: Agreed. Agreed. That leads me to your inbox, Tom. Are you getting bombarded with pitches? How is it in there?

[00:03:58] TM: Last week was quite bad, because I was in Paris for Paris Blockchain Week.

[00:04:02] BB: Oh, yeah. Oh, no. Okay, now this question has not been relevant for quite a long time. When you go to an actual – now, I’m going to start asking this, an actual event where you’re seeing, you’re walking the streets, you’re walking the floor, whatever and people now get your info, does it immediately matriculate to, “Oh, my God. My inbox is blowing up, because people just met me now sending me stuff”?

“Yeah, I just want as possible to be straight, on the point of what the news is, what the product launch is, what the raise is, etc., etc. I know that’s not super, super helpful, but yeah. Sure, quick, subject line, which is clear and relevant to my beat is really great.”

[00:04:26] TM: Yeah. I put a tweet out last week saying that I was going there.

[00:04:30] BB: Do you regret this tweet? 

[00:04:31] TM: Yeah, I do.

[00:04:34] BB: Oh, no.

[00:04:35] TM: I think for an hour, I got an email once every 5 minutes. I look at it, my Telegram was bombarded as well.

[00:04:44] BB: Wow. Tweeting works.

[00:04:46] TM: Tweeting works. Yeah. I think, also, I guess, when you’re on the list, a media list, you’re added to a lot of other lists. I was getting lots and lots of emails. Some of them, great. Some of them not as useful as they could be. Yeah, it was quite an experience. I mean, I had a really great time there as well. Yeah, it was a lot of fun.

[00:05:06] BB: Were the pitches you did receive, again for maybe this tweet, were they relevant, or were they like, “Hey, can we meet up? Can we do that?” Or was it straight pitching like, “Hey, by the way, I have a client, here you go.”

“If you’re introing me an entirely new client, it’s helpful to put links within the pitch being of their LinkedIn page, or their Twitter page, so I can learn a bit more about who that person, or what that company is like.”

[00:05:15] TM: Yeah, a lot of them weren’t super relevant to what my beat is, but I do get a couple. I worked a mood piece to part for the same week, which was published on Tuesday, I think. I did manage to get a email that was relevant in, but that was maybe one of three or four relevant emails, which landed in my inbox. 

[00:05:41] BB: Only that many. That’s disappointing.

[00:05:43] TM: Yeah. I think with a lot of crypto journalism, there’s lots of yeah, there’s constant product launches and constant raises and stuff like that. You just have to filter out a lot of the noise, which is why I’m quite, yeah, I’m really work on making my inbox neat.


His thoughts on Exclusives & Embargoes

[00:12:53] BB: Do you have a preference, Tom, on exclusives, or embargoes? Do you like an exclusive?

[00:13:00] TM: Yeah, I’m happy with an exclusive.

[00:13:03] BB: Okay. Like this piece of this funding piece that you just did on Ginny raises a 150 million bucks from Silverlight. This was earlier this month. Was that an exclusive, for example?

“Often, you get an exclusive and it’s like the smaller part of the story, which is already covered by another publication, or is an exclusive, because nobody else wants to cover it.” 

[00:13:11] TM: No. I think that was Ray King. I think that was Ray King. Yeah. I guess, for me as I said, it’s almost three different type of stories. I covered features, breaking news and then embargoes. There’s a lot of funding stories come over with embargoes. I’m definitely open to them. Yeah. 

[00:13:31] BB: Okay. This is good.

[00:13:32] TM: Yeah. I mean, sometimes it’s nice to have a little bit of time to speak to people properly and be prepared for that interview.

[00:13:39] BB: Yeah. Have a second. Yes.

[00:13:41] TM: Then really scratch out what that, especially if it’s a seed stage startup, flesh out what that startup is trying to do. Yeah. Yeah, I’m definitely open to them.

[00:13:50] BB: Okay, this is good to everybody to know.




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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