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On the newest episode of Coffee with a Journalist our host, Beck Bamberger, chats 1:1 with Nick Pino, Senior Home Entertainment Editor at TechRadar. Learn about Nick’s love for video games, how he’s written over 1000 articles over his journalism career and his belief system when it comes to a work-life balance.
As a senior editor at TechRadar, he specializes in content creation but also spends a great deal of time in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). He is constantly identifying and capitalizing on e-commerce opportunities, product evaluation and results measurement through tools like Google Analytics. He manages a diverse team of writers and editors to create content relating to the TV, Audiovisual, Virtual Reality, Smart Home devices, Streaming Services and Video Game sections of the website. Aside from this, he also reviews flagship products from major electronics companies like Microsoft, Sony, LG, Samsung, Google, and Amazon. Check out this episode to get an inside glimpse into Nick’s life, his relationship with PR Pros, and what is a no go for pitching him.
His Views on Pitching
Beck: Speaking of advice, let’s talk about PR people. So, tell. Tell us a little bit about your perspective of working with publicists, the good and the bad. The ugly.
Beck: Tips and any tricks you have.
Nick: Yeah, I’ve, I thought long and hard. I thought this might be part of the interview, so I came prepared for this. It is so important and I’ve read some of your articles as well and you said this too: Be authentic. Authenticity is so, so important. One sincere pitch is better than 10 generic pitches. I can’t tell you how many times per day I’ll get a pitch on medical technology or I’ll get a pitch on car technology and sure these things are kind of adjacent to what I do sort of. But if you ever read TechRadar, you would never see a medical device covered on TechRadar. We do consumer-facing products. So this is a PR person who just added me to a list, who just threw something together. And with that PR person, that kinda builds distrust because then when I see that name again on another pitch, I almost delete it immediately. In my inbox, I’ll probably get 200 pitches every morning that I’ve got to go through and about 180 of them are deleted within the first two seconds of me looking at them.
Beck: Two seconds?
Nick: You have about two seconds before. So like if that, if the headline…
Beck: I hope people are listening to this because that’s fast.
Nick: Yeah. If your headline and your tagline are not enticing and then that first sentence has nothing to do with what I do, I’ll delete that. So, that’s the only way I can get through my inbox in a reasonable amount of time. Remember, editors a lot of times are responsible for more than one thing. What I mean there is, you know, even if you’re a features editor, even if you’re a home entertainment editor, I still have to do news. You know, we have news editors, but the news editors can’t just do news. They need other editors to contribute to that. So, my morning: get through emails as fast as humanly possible, find the relevant stories and get those written up, get in contact with those PR people, get additional information, write that up as soon as possible. So yeah, you have about two seconds. And that’s what I mean about being sincere and authentic is if I see an email that’s like, “Hey Nick, I know you’re busy, check this out real quick.” and is a really short, brief email, that’s like “Nick, I saw last week you wrote about um, this soundbar we have a brand new soundbar coming out. Here’s how it’s different. Here’s why I think you’re gonna like it. We already have, you know, 500,000 people signed up for a preorder.” That to me is very enticing. I will very seriously consider covering that.
His Views on the Ethics in Journalism
Beck: That kind-of goes into the ethics that we were talking about with journalism. You were kind-of getting into that topic. I want to bring that into now for our listeners and how we went down that funnel. So, tell me a little bit of how you think of the ethics in journalism.
Nick: Yeah. You know, I’m very lucky I don’t cover, um, political journalism. I don’t cover politics because no one’s life is on the line with tech journalism. And I’m, I’m so, so thankful for that. The people that cover politics do an amazing, amazing job who corroborate sources all the time and they’re getting all this feedback and they’re, you know, updating these stories, breaking stories. They have such an incredibly tough job. For entertainment journalism, and I would lump kind-of games, movie journalism, celebrity Journalism, technology journalism into this blanket. A lot of it is about access, access that you have to products or people before they come out. So you have to avoid, when possible, antagonistic relationships with public relations people whenever possible. And when I say that, I’m not saying you don’t report the truth, I’m not saying that you don’t cover these products to the best of your ability. You absolutely do that 100% of the time, but you also want to work with these people as best you can to bring people information that they need. So a great example of this is, um, when the Xbox OneX came out, that was like the really high powered Xbox system. The people at the Digital Foundry, which is a publication, worked really closely with the Microsoft team to run a specs analysis. So they gave these, this publications exclusive specs ahead of time. They had access, they were clearly, you know, very close to that PR team, but more importantly, they knew that was the audience that cares about it the most. Digital Foundry are the people that do frame rate testing on video game consoles. So, this is the audience that cares about it the most. So, that was good work by their PR team to identify an audience that cares the most. That was good work by the journalism team to be close enough to be considered for that opportunity. I think that is what we need to do more of is match, match publications to what they’re suited for and then give those publications information that’s not a one sheet and not the same 10 generic photos and oh, you said you wanted to talk about what I don’t like.
His Take on the Future of Media
Beck: One question I like to ask people as the kind-of last one is, and we touched upon this a bit, what does the future of media look like?
Nick: Gosh, yeah, that’s hard to predict, isn’t it? I would love to go back in time and hear what they said 10 years ago for like digital magazines. Everyone’s going to read digital mags. It’s going to be great. I can make that joke heavy worked on a digital magazine and it going nowhere. I am allowed to make that joke. Um, yeah. What does the future look like? Probably more of bringing the community together with the developers and together with journalists. And I think some of the best examples of that right now are things like the PlayStation blog. For those people who don’t know what that is, Sony has, they used to have an internal blog where they would just publish the most pertinent need to know information. It would just be like, hey, we’re going to release a PlayStation 4, here’s a product page on it. But the PlayStation blog is really an evolution of that. They get developers to come in and they will talk about the game they’re working on. Um, the community feels really integrated because they feel like they have a direct line to these developers now, but it’s all still moderated by editorial, like there’s still a content strategy plan that goes into this. And that’s, I think, one possible future, that will work for technology and games journalism. I don’t know if that’s, that’s a thing that would work in other fields necessarily. I mean, I think it does in some ways when you see an Op-Ed in the Times, right? And then someone will have a counter Op-Ed a few days later. You know you’ll get to see both sides of the story that way. But for technology journalism, entertainment journalism, I think you could have more instantaneous of blending between those communities and sharing and making sure we’re all on the same level. Because I think the readers can sometimes feel like they don’t have a voice, they don’t have a say in this. And I think, good gosh, there’s this thing called GamerGate, which was an absolute nightmare scenario a few years ago, but one of their big complaints was that they felt like they didn’t have as much say in the community anymore. The people that were consuming the content didn’t have as much voice. So finding a way to empower the people in the community to have a say, to sometimes give them a direct line to developers when they need it, but still have editorial curation so it’s not just a mess of 200 articles going up a day and you can’t find anything and it’s all dull, irrelevant content. So it’s, I think all three of those communities need to come together and that’s one future that I see.
Thanks for listening to this week’s to Coffee With A Journalist featuring Nick Pino from TechRadar. Be sure to subscribe to Coffee with a Journalist to catch our latest episodes! If you’re a journalist who loves coffee or a publicist who loves this podcast, we’d love to hear from you. Head to OnePitch.co to drop us a line. Until then, let’s end bad pitches and start great stories.