“Influencers Who Inspire” – Interview with Steve Barrett, US Editor-In-Chief, PRWeek

PerkettPR is excited to share our latest interview with Steve Barrett who leads the US edition of PRWeek, a premier PR publication. Steve Barrett has been editor-in-chief of PRWeek US since April 2010, managing a team of 12 journalists.  PRWeek is the premier global media brand for the communications and PR industries, publishing monthly in print, a weekly online edition, daily online news briefings, weekly sector bulletins, audio, video, blogs, and other regular digital content. Steve shares insight on his role as editor-in-chief of a busy publication, how he transitioned to the US from the UK and how much he loves the city of New York.

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Tell us a bit about what your role encompasses as editor-in-chief of PRWeek US?
The editor-in-chief’s role on PRWeek is to lead the brand across all its content platforms, live events, brand extensions, and partnerships. It involves leading and managing a team of journalists and liaising with many departments internally at our holding company Haymarket, including the regional global branches of PRWeek, in the UK and Asia. It also means being the front person for the brand and building great contacts in the industry we cover, across the client, agency, media, and products and services categories. It means being generally supportive of the PR industry, while also challenging it to excel and update its practice, and helping it to advance.

You have been with PRWeek US for over 5 years now. What is the biggest lesson you have learned?
Having transitioned over to the US office of our holding company Haymarket Media from England, I quickly learned that you have to adapt your strategy and style to the local market in which you are operating, without losing the universal skills and experience you have in your locker.
Nobody is interested in hearing about “how you used to do things in the old country,” just as an American in England would get similarly short shrift if they approached the job in such a fashion. That doesn’t mean you can’t offer fresh perspectives and ideas, you just have to present them in the right way.
I also had to tone down my newsroom style a little in the US, as it is generally more “robust” in the UK and certain things don’t go down well here. In the UK you can be in a shouting match with someone one minute and having a pint in the pub with them the next.
However, I was pleased to see the generally high regard in which the media is held in the US and the voracious appetite for quality content. I also learned that over here “The Times” means The New York Times and not The London Times.

What do you find most challenging as editor?
It’s the most exciting time to be in media, but also the most frightening. The landscape is evolving so fast and traditional business models and ways of doing things are changing every day. Standing still is going backwards, so you have to constantly try to infuse your brand and your team with the energy to move forward. That has always been the case by the way, but it is even more so now.

Having come from the UK, what do you miss about it? What do you love about NY?
I miss silly things like roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, proper fish and chips, The Grand National (England’s most famous horse race), good-quality lamb (you can tell I am not a vegetarian), a pint of good bitter, cynicism, and other such English specialties.
New York is the most amazing city in the world. Unlike London, it is a genuine 24-hour city that never sleeps. And, also unlike London, it is a place where people actually live in the center of the city, which makes it super-vibrant and exciting. London has so totally out-priced its native population that it becomes a ghost town in the evenings because nobody can afford to live in the center, and that has had a seriously diminishing effect on my hometown, which I regret. Don’t get me wrong, Manhattan is an expensive place to live, but people have not been completely priced out of the center yet.

If you had not taken the path of journalism for your career, what do you envision you would be doing?
Actually, I came to journalism quite late, having worked in sales, marketing, and at a digital agency before taking a year out, doing a masters degree in journalism, and landing at Haymarket soon after, in 1999, where I have been ever since in various roles.
Funnily enough, despite the traditional tension between editorial and commercial departments on media outlets, in my view some of the skills required are very similar across both – such as the ability to listen, ask open questions, build relationships, negotiate, and go in hard where necessary.

How does PRWeek do such a good job of reporting on timely topics?
Between our US, UK, and Asian editorial operations we have full 24/7 coverage of the PR and communications sectors and we work together very effectively as a team. This is a tribute to the senior and section editors in each region, who have totally bought in to the new global imperative of business. Our journalists are all experts in their beats and tenacious and intelligent in the way they go about their jobs.
We have also stopped thinking about channels and concentrate on content, which is then delivered in the most effective fashion across the most relevant platforms, whether that be mobile (which it increasingly is), online, face to face at events, or in print.

Biggest pet peeve with PR people?
I am in the interesting position of editing the trade publication for PR professionals, so I’m not going to wheel out the usual journalistic gripes about PR people.
The PR profession gets a bad rep from many quarters, including mainstream media outlets such as The New York Times and niche publications such as Advertising Age. Our job at PRWeek is to reflect the transformation going on in PR that makes it fundamental to businesses and organizations of all types and much more respected and valued than it used to be by C-suite level executives.

What keeps you up at night?
When I have a gym session in the morning I always wake up early, which is really annoying. But if I waited until the evening to go to the gym I would never get in there.
I started worrying about geopolitics, war, poverty, terrorism, and the general unsettled state of the world, but I got too depressed, so now I try and think about nice things.

What are you passionate about outside of work? Favorite sport?
As an Englishman born and bred, football is my sport – or soccer as you call it over here. I’ve been a passionate Manchester United fan almost since birth and their results still have far too much of an impact on my mood and disposition.
My other sporting passion is chess – yes, it is a sport. I recently played for my English club team in the European Club Cup in Macedonia and managed to pull off my best win ever, against a strong Azerbaijani Grandmaster. I also love cricket, horseracing, snooker, and boxing.
Apart from sport, I love many types of music, including northern soul, reggae, jazz, ska, and, as I was a teenager in the late-70s, punk. And, I love New York City.

What is next for you for the remainder of 2015?
I have just taken on an additional role at PRWeek as global editorial director, in addition to my duties as EIC of PRWeek US, so my brief has been widened to oversee the development of PRWeek’s collaborative, global editorial products, and to pursue opportunities and partnerships to bring the brand to new regions.

“Influencers Who Inspire” – Interview with Nina Lentini, MediaPost’s Marketing Daily


We are excited to continue our interview series with the top influencers of the PR and marketing world. This week’s interview is with Nina Lentini, who edits Marketing Daily (MediaPost). She shares her thoughts on journalism, what she misses about Boston and more.

Please tell us a little bit about your role at MediaPost’s Marketing Daily?
I edit and create newsletters for MediaPost Communications, including Marketing Daily and a slew of others that focus on demographics such as Engage:Boomers and others that focus on arenas such as Marketing:Politics.

What do you love most about being a journalist?
Gathering facts and weaving stories that inform, educate and enterain, not necessarily all three all the time.

With the evolution of the internet and social media, journalism has evolved. What changes have you witnessed as an editor?
My first time as a copy editor, we used typewriters, manual ones. Selectrics followed, then the early computers. I was involved in the first efforts at videotext, which yadda yadda yadda became the Internet although I had taken time off to raise a few babies. I did learn enough code to create websites in the ’90s and now, of course, all my work is done online. I am looking forward to learning about Periscope.

How do you find talented writers for your staff?
I inherited the staff and they have been with us for eight years. Finding talent isn’t that hard, given the circumstances in journalism today. Otherwise, for the weekly newsletters, many contributors have been with us for years and, when openings occur, I find I can turn to people I know and trust in PR to suggest replacements.

MarketingDaily covers a wide area of topics. Which topics are you most interested in covering?
The food/beverage and restaurant industries are going through rapid changes in how they market their products to consumers. Health is a priority, especially among the young, and these groups are fighting to reach the pockets of Gens Y and Z. Very exciting times we’re living in.

Outside of your career, what keeps you busy?
Discovering New Haven. We moved here in 2014 from a much sleepier town. There is so much to see, do and eat. The pizza alone is the best there is! It’s also a very walkable city so the dog and I do 2.5 miles every morning, between deadlines.

As a Boston University graduate, what do you miss about the city of Boston?
The Charles River. It’s a romance smack dab in the middle of Beantown. I get back regularly now that my youngest daughter lives in Brighton. She will graduate from Suffolk next year with an interior design degree. Know any architects?

How can PR professionals become more helpful to you and your efforts as Editor?
They can understand (and explain to their clients) that Marketing Daily does not publish content marketing. If the client sells eggs and wants to submit a piece on how best to buy eggs, no. Stop right there. We like opinion pieces about current events and trends.

Favorite place to travel?
Italy. I lived there for two separate years, in Rome and Florence. I love speaking and hearing the language. It is music to my ears.

What is next for you as we head in to 2016?
I am building a 700 sf house on a vacant lot in New Haven. We are at the planning and zoning stage. I hope to visit my friends in Italy next year since I was last there in 1996.

“Influencers Who Inspire” – Interview with Jessica Bartlett, Boston Business Journal

We continue our “Influencers Who Inspire” series with Jessica Bartlett, Health Care Reporter for Boston Business Journal. Jessica shares what types of stories she is on the lookout for, her favorite book and more.



Tell us a little bit about your role at BBJ?

I’m the health care reporter at the Boston Business Journal, which has me covering everything from hospitals to digital health companies to promising research to policy makers to insurers to startups to the occasional biotech and pharmaceutical story. We have digital newsletters we put out throughout the weekday and a weekly print product as well, so my time is split writing content for these products.

You are very passionate about writing and publishing. What is your favorite book or author?

My favorite book is East of Eden by John Steinbeck. The writing is beautiful, and the character development is unlike anything else I’ve ever read. It is a talent to write characters a reader can hate but still understand.

As a child, what did you envision yourself doing? Favorite subject in school?

As a child, I wanted to be on broadway! It was a career I had in my mind through high school, with decades of dance lessons and dozens of plays under my belt. But I wanted a job that would give me health insurance (irony, now that I cover health care), and the reality of always looking for work seemed overly stressful. I’ve always loved to write, and English was always my favorite subject in school. I decided journalism was the best way to do something artistic while still making a living, and came out of picking classes during orientation at the University of Vermont and declared to my mother that I’d be a journalist.

How did your education prepare you for your role today as a journalist?

My preparation for journalism truly happened outside the classroom — I worked for the school newspaper at the University of Vermont and learned how to write for a newspaper there. During an internship at the Patriot Ledger, I learned what professional newspaper writing should look like and be. I don’t have a degree in journalism (I majored in English and Studio Art with a focus in photography), but my education offered me a love of writing and reading, and a general curiosity about a variety of subjects — perhaps the most helpful part of my education. As a journalist, you never know what you’ll be covering, and curiosity and a desire to learn has always been my biggest asset.

As managing editor of your collegiate newspaper, what was the most interesting part of your role? Most challenging?

The most interesting part of being managing editor was being able to have a broader view of what we were doing as a paper, and all the people who worked within it. I read every article before it went to print, had meetings with editors to come up with ways they could better manage their writing staff — it afforded me a great view of a paper’s entire operations, and allowed me to have a more meaningful impact. Most challenging was perhaps running a newspaper filled with my peers, none of whom were paid to be there. But I learned a lot about leadership and people, that you have to manage personalities, hold people to high standards, but appreciate that they showed up.

As a reporter covering healthcare, what types of stories are you always on the look out for?

I’m looking for health stories that haven’t already been covered, and are things people will want to read — whether it’s why Medicaid insurers are losing millions, a breakthrough diabetes treatment or the new app that could change how people interact with their health. Because of our readership, I’m also looking for news that has a direct tie to Massachusetts and has a tie to business, even if it’s that the discovery could one day lead to an industry partnership or drug.

Do you feel PR folks are helpful and if so, in what way?

A helpful PR person is like a waiter, in that he or she is friendly, brings me what I ask for in a timely manner, recommends things I might truly like and is cognizant of my time. An unhelpful PR person is like a bouncer, in that he or she stands between me and what I’m looking for, bars me access to exciting things, and makes me jump through lengthy and exhausting hoops to gain entry. I have many valuable relationships with PR people that I talk to frequently, I also receive many pitches from others who seem to be pushing me content from a client, rather than thinking through news I might be interested in receiving. It truly is a mix.

What is next for you for the remainder of 2015?

The Boston Business Journal has some exciting events to look forward to, including our 40 Under 40 event and Power 50. I’m also working on a number of exciting stories that I’m eager to share with readers. On a more personal note, I’m getting married in September!

“Influencers Who Inspire” – Interview with Rebecca Strong of BostInno

We are excited to resume our “Influencers Who Inspire” interview series, where we highlight industry influencers and leaders in business. Today, we talk with Rebecca Strong of BostInno.  She shares her thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Boston and what she loves about her role at BostInno.

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Strong is currently a staff writer at BostInno, where she’s been covering local tech and startup news since November 2014. Previously, she was a writer and video blog producer for the content marketing agency, Brafton. Since graduating from Emerson College in 2010, she has contributed to a variety of local and national publications, including The Huffington Post, U.S. News University Directory and Elite Daily.

Please tell us a little bit about your beat at BostInno.

I’m in charge of covering anything relating to tech and start ups in and around Boston. That could mean anything from a funding announcement, merger, or acquisition to a profile on an entrepreneur, a first look at an upcoming local app or information about a brand new accelerator, incubator or coworking space. And sometimes I’ll dive into the aspects of startup culture—from style to office beer taps.

With Boston being populated with so many tech startups, how do you personally keep up with all the latest developments and introductions to the market?

It’s next to impossible to stay on top of everything and I’m fortunate in that people are constantly reaching out to me about their newly established startups or other announcements. But personally, I’m always scouring AngelList for interesting early stage companies, keeping an eye on industry folks on Twitter, and continually checking college/university news (MIT, Northeastern, etc). Going to networking events, panels, etc. is also a great way to get a scoop on a startup I might not otherwise have known about.

What do you love about your role at BostInno?

Knowing that I’m shaping the way people understand and view emerging companies so early on in their development. It’s extremely rewarding, too, to see the impact that positive press can have on startups. I’ve gotten emails from founders saying that after my article was published about their company, they were contacted by an interested investor. Or, from accelerators saying that a local expert offered to be a mentor for their program after they read my piece. There’s so much going on in Boston tech that it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. But I like to think that my shining a spotlight on some of these startups that are still getting their footing, and building up some hype around them, can actually make a difference—even a small one—in their being able to generate traction.

What types of companies do you like to cover and why?

It sounds obvious, but my favorites are the ones solving a problem that, to my knowledge, hasn’t yet been addressed. The startup world is saturated, and there are so many people making very similar apps based on basically the same idea. When I come across a company that’s going after an unresolved issue, or innovating in a space that still operates in an archaic way, that’s what excites me. Because in my mind, they’re the startups that have the most potential to turn heads, and to be responsible for significant change.

What has been your most interesting interview thus far?

That’s a tie. Arianna Huffington, and T.J. Miller from the HBO series “Silicon Valley.” Very, very different interviews but both fascinating individuals.

Do PR people help or hinder your storytelling?

I wouldn’t say PR people have ever hindered my storytelling. But not all are as helpful as they could be. The ones I really appreciate are those who get BostInno, who make a point to get me information as quickly as possible—often in advance of any embargo time—and who offer to connect me with the people who matter in any particular story.

If you had to guess, what percent of stories come from ideas a PR person sent to you?

I’d say about 17-18 percent. There are many cases in which a PR person will pitch me something, and I may not take that exact idea, but I’ll pull some other tidbit that I find interesting about the CEO, or the company, and run with that. And in those cases, that PR person still played a crucial role in making the story happen because they originally facilitated it.

What’s one thing you think PR executives could do better?

Know the journalists they’re pitching to. And no, I don’t just mean know that they write on tech, or sports, or food. I get so many irrelevant pitches - if the PR person emailing me had actually taken a glimpse at my coverage, they would know the angles aren’t relevant either to my beat or to BostInno as a whole. It’s equally important to know the publication’s audience when you’re pitching a journalist. BostInno has an edgy tone. Our readers are largely 20-somethings and 30-somethings. So if you’re trying to get me psyched about a tech company based on a super dry concept that’s difficult to comprehend, that’s going to be tough. And if you’re still sure it’s something worth covering, then make sure you do it in a way that very clearly helps me understand why it would pique our readers’ interest.

What do you love about the city of Boston?

The sense of community here. We band together like a small town would, yet we have all the awesome resources and businesses and other perks of living in a major city. The camaraderie here is particularly advantageous for startups. There’s this overall feeling that everyone supports everyone else. I don’t think you get a lot of that in other cities, where it’s more of an “every man for himself” mentality. It’s not just in the tech and startup world, either. The restaurant industry here holds so many events and meetups—everyone knows everyone else and you get the feeling that everyone gets genuinely excited for one another’s successes.

What are you passionate about outside of your journalism career?

Singing. Fitness. And, if I’m being honest, eating.

What is one goal you’d like to accomplish before the end of 2015?

In relation to my job, I’ve been asked several times to be on the judging panel at a startup pitch event and it hasn’t worked out with my schedule, so that’s something I’d like to do.

Outside of my job, my new goal is to get a basil plant, grow it, and make a mean batch of homemade pesto.

Persuasive Picks – Week of July 20, 2015

Business2Community author, Susan Gilbert discusses how positive vision in marketing will protect you from failure. “Positive Focus Creates Better Marketing Results” provides 4 easy steps for positive focus, including how to monitor your time on social media and being open to new marketing strategies.


7 of the Best Tools to Aid Your Content Marketing”, an insightful piece by Julia McCoy, covers some of the latest content marketing tools out there that can help you be smarter and more accurate in your content marketing strategy.

Mike Templeman contributes an article called “How Facebook And Twitter Fit Into B2B Marketing”  which discusses two lesser-used social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter and how they can be a real value in B2B marketing.