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Journalists Fill-In-The-Blank

Journalists Fill-In-The-Blank

Often times we write about journalists’ pitching preferences, what their inbox looks like, their preferred method of connecting with sources, and a full gamut of other useful tidbits that enable PR pros to pitch more effectively and build stronger relationships.

This week, we’re lightening up the mood and sharing some “more fun” responses we received from journalists within the fill-in-the-blank segment of our podcast, Coffee with a Journalist. From Halloween costumes to their favorite hobbies, we’ll share what journalists are like outside of the newsroom and away from the computer in this install of journalists fill-in-the-blank.


My perfect Sunday is…

Steven Aquino, a freelance journalist at Forbes, said his perfect Sunday activity is, “​​Stay home and watching TV whole day.” That doesn’t sound half bad when you consider this was recorded during the middle of the pandemic.


Erika Wheless, tech reporter at Ad Age, told us, “I walk up the High Line. I haven’t been there in a while. Then one of the museums. I know the Whitney is right there.” Being a New Yorker, or even a visitor, you should know the High Line is a cool spot to hang out and see the streets above.


Jane Thier, reporter at Fortune, said this, “My perfect Sunday is wake up, do a workout, get a workout in before breakfast, clean my apartment, read a few chapters of a book, meet up with my friends to go to the farmers’ market, come home and cook with all the stuff I got at the farmers’ market and then get ahead of my email, so that I will be closer to inbox zero on Monday morning than it otherwise would be.” Just like you and I, Jane is a human who likes to do normal things on the weekend that don’t involve reading emails or working…


Terry (T.L.) Stanley, senior editor at Adweek and a LA native, said this about her perfect Southern California Sunday, “…outside all the time, hiking and all kinds of stuff like that. It’s beautiful here, so I take full advantage of the gorgeous weather and the scenery and all that stuff.” As Southern California natives ourselves, we can attest to the amazing weather and plentiful outdoor activities our beautiful part of the state has to offer.


Ben Stegner, deputy editor at MakeUseOf, enjoys playing video games on his day off. He says, “Relaxing and playing some video games normally. So Saturdays are pretty busy for me.” He then shared, “​​! I play a ton of different single-player games. Overwatches the main multiplayer game that I still play. But as far as single-player games, I’m always playing some indie game. I just finished Luigi’s Mansion III on Switch. I started the game called Kaze and the Wild Masks, which is like a Donkey Kong country style platformer. I love platformers, I love shooters, I love puzzle game, so anything in that.”


Manasa Gogineni, reporter at VentureBeat, enjoys the simpler things in life. She said, “Sleeping in and then hiking.” She also loves to try out and find new trails in the Bay Area and mentions in particular she loves, which our host does too, on the episode.


Issie Lapowsky, chief correspondent at Protocol, spends her Sunday with family. She said, “This is also relevant to my toddler, but he for some reason loves the sounds of the trumpets on CBS Sunday Morning. We have breakfast and then we gather in front of the TV for him to listen to the trumpets. He has no interest obviously in most of the stories in CBS Sunday Morning, but we do that. Then we go for like a long walk or maybe like out to lunch now that it’s nice out.”


The last best thing I ate (or cooked) was…

Family man, Simon Cohen, shared this heartfelt story about family time, “Last night. My kids made their – Because of COVID, they’re both at home, and they’ve both been really getting into cooking, and they’ve been making some amazing dinners. Last night, they made these delicious risotto cheese balls with an arugula salad, like really gourmet.”


Brena Nath, managing editor at HousingWire+, follows a vegan diet and her all-time favorite food is french fries. She says, “I could eat french fries every single meal…” We couldn’t agree with Brena more on this one and know a few delicious spots in and out of the city for vegan eats.


Sandra Gutierrez, associate editor at Popular Science, has some serious cooking skills. She said, “Okay, so the last thing I cooked and it’s just sitting beside me uneaten is the smarty rice with some ground beef and caramelized onions. It’s not the fanciest thing, but it’s what I had. Yeah, I feel the last good thing I had is a grilled cheese sandwiches. I just loved grilled cheese sandwiches. They’re so perfect and simple.” 


Ashley Carman, senior reporter at The Verge, told us about a new ice cream spot she really enjoyed. Her favorite was, “They had a like a Thai – It’s not Thai tea but it’s like iced tea or something flavor with – We had the –” mixed with blackberry jam. Yum!


John Timmer, science editor at Ars Technica, loves to eat seafood. He said, “Every now and again, there’s a special on lobster. It’s been a while since I’ve done that, but I love it.” If you need a good lobster recipe, John is your guy!


While John likes the surf, Dan Bova, editorial director of digital content at Entrepreneur, likes the turf. He said, “On Sunday, I grilled a fillet, and then it was gigantic. So then yesterday, I made kind of Bolognese sauce with the leftovers and some red wine, and we had some —”


Rebecca Bellan, a transportation reporter at TechCrunch, has a fantastic recipe she shared with us. Here’s what she said, “The last best thing I cooked was falafel. I make my own falafel. It’s my father’s recipe. He’s Arab, Christian, Israeli. It’s a whole other thing.” Um, Rebecca, where is this recipe at?!


Shannen Balogh, finance reporter at Insider, shared one of her favorite dinner spots, “For the weekend, I went out to a place called Kings County Imperial in Brooklyn that I love. It’s some of my favorite Americanized Chinese food. That was delicious.” Is there anything better than Chinese food…aside from Chinese takeout?!


Nathan Ingraham, deputy managing editor at Engadget, told about his favorite food and “parlor” he visited, “I had this pizza up in upstate New York. Town is slipping my mind. I was just there a couple weeks ago. This place, all these pizza though. Man, just very simple, but like really nice, like Neapolitan cross like stone fired up. And a good pizza is basically one of my favorite things. I kind of treat it very religiously. I grew up in Connecticut, where there’s a fairly good spread of pizza. And then I lived in some cities where there wasn’t such good pizza, San Francisco. And being back on the east coast – Back in the east coast in Philadelphia, man, we’ve got the best Italian food here.”


Quarantine has taught me…

Brena Nath also told us this about her learning during the pandemic, “Quarantine taught me that it is okay to slow down, or maybe that it’s okay to not be going a mile a minute. I think it’s been really nice to watch one as all be more present at home and be a lot more present, I feel like in our home lives and our community where we’re at. Right before the pandemic hit, I was out of town for almost all of February last year. I’m almost gone for half of December and January. It’s really nice. I am very much a go-away person. I’m extrovert to the extreme, don’t like being by myself. Being out fuels me, so I am not the person who wants to often sit at home and be in her feelings. It really taught me the power to slowing and down being present.” BONUS: she also got a puppy!


Some of us can relate to Jacob Bell, reporter at BioPharma Dive, has trouble keeping plants alive. He told us, “People are now a little stressed out because like they’ll see just this rain forest behind me, in calls…” Same, Jacob, same.


For Victoria Song, former consumer tech reporter at Gizmodo, she learned a lot about…”Quarantine has taught me about boundaries, like I’ve never been a work-from home person until Gizmodo. The way we did it was, in the mornings, we would find like something to hit quickly in the morning. Then in the afternoon, we’d kind of be able to do longer tail things. For the morning, we’d pick up early, we’d find a thing to write about, do it, file it, commute into the office. Like that was my first experience with work from home, but it was still very like — there is a place and time from work and there is a place and time for home. Then quarantine was just —it erased all those boundaries. 

I was living in a studio apartment with my husband and my two pets. The beginning of quarantine and it 550 square feet, and there was just no boundary for anything. It was really, really hard. We’ve since move, but just kind of enforcing that, “No, this is my lunch hour.”


Lorenzo Franceschi-Bichierrai, senior staff writer at VICE Motherboard, had this to say about his time during quarantine, “​​That it’s okay not to overwork yourself. I think that one of the concerns we all had at Motherboard was that by working from home, we would just be working all the time. So we were lucky that our editors, their first concern was, “We don’t want you to work all the time. It’s also very tough. It will be challenging times. We know that you have to take care of family and friends and other things.” I think we all made a conscious effort to put some boundaries and respect those boundaries as much as we could.”


Kendall Baker, sports editor at Axios, has a very simple answer and it’s not surprising considering his fondness of sports. He said, “NFL RedZone in the fall.” The real question is, Kendall, are you a fan of the “Octobox”?


Holden Page, director of FinLedger, said this about his learnings during quarantine. He said, “Quarantine has taught me the value of community really. I use to fly a lot. I’m going to be flying again.” If you’re ever in the Minneapolis area keep an eye in the sky for Holden buzzing around.


Sasha Lekach, news writer at Mashable, revisited an old hobby. She told us, “Quarantine has taught me – Ooh! I got back into guitar. So it’s taught me to play guitar again and to practice.” We can’t think of a cooler way to spend our downtime although none of us are musicians…




All of the journalists above told us about each of these fill-in-the-blank answers and more! Click their names above to listen to each episode and jot down some notes next time you want to connect in a more personal way.

ICYMI: we also updated these questions just in time for the holidays. Hear what journalists wore for Halloween, what they look forward to most during the holidays, and of course what their favorite foods are during this time.

Hear about our new journalist video spotlight series? Head to our new video page to subscribe and gain access to pitch tips directly from journalists, and more!

Jered Martin

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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